So-called Safe Driving Experts Post Dangerous Advice about Child Safety in Cars

How can the American public be expected to know what’s safest for themselves and their children when supposedly trustworthy sources so often publish incorrect and unsafe “advice” about safe driving techniques, or — as in this case — post highly inappropriate photographs or illustrations showing dangerous scenarios as though they are correct and acceptable?

California DMV

The photograph below first came to our attention when it was posted — outrageously — by no less an organization than the California DMV, so our first questions to them are:  Who is responsible for this?  Do they know nothing about safe driving and child safety at all?

This photograph is meant to show good child safety for the three children in the back seat of this car but all three are wearing their seatbelts in a dangerous manner (see the text of the article)/
This photograph is meant to show good child safety for the three children in the back seat of this car but all three are wearing their seatbelts in a dangerous manner (see the text of the article) — We do not claim to have copyright permission to post this image but do claim the legal right to do so for discussion of an important aspect of public safety.

The dangers shown here are that (a) the girl in the center of the three unavoidably has her seatbelt to high and effectively across her neck.  In the event of a collision, this alone could kill her.  The girl on the left also has her belt too high but not as badly as the first one.  (b) The girl on the right has her belt across her upper arm, below the shoulder (see the Irish Examiner article, linked below, for a better view of this) and there is no way this would restrain her correctly in a collision where, at the very least it might be expected to cause serious arm or shoulder injuries.

The photograph is, however, at least two years old.  We now know that a version of it was published by the Irish Examiner (newspaper) on July 04, 2015, in the ironically titled “How to keep kids well when travelling by car,”  which was about car sickness but was apparently oblivious to child seatbelt safety

Then, just three days afterwards, yet another version was published by the Gerber Life Insurance Agency, in “Activities to Keep Kids Happily Occupied  During Road Travel.”  Come on, Gerber.  Surely you have someone who should definitely have picked up on this?

The fact that these three sources all used different versions of one image might suggest that they originated from a picture library, in which case we would suggest that while such libraries are in business purely to sell images, they DO have a responsibility not to trade in misleadingly dangerous pictures!

New York is Top State in USA Enforcement Efforts to Make Highways Safer

NYS DMV Press Release – Monday, July 24, 2017

New York is the top state in the nation in taking steps to reduce injuries and fatalities on its roadways, a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. No state has taken as many steps to curtail the number of crashes as the Empire State. As a result, New York had one of the lowest rates of traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents in the nation, according to 2013 data cited in the report.

NYS DMV logo

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Perverse Priorities in Punishments for Vehicular Infractions in the USA

In this post, I am not particularly picking on California as such, because the weird situation I’m about to describe apparently happens in many, or maybe even all states (see the Massachusetts example in the photo below).

On July 20, 2017, the California Department of Motor Vehicles published this on its Facebook timeline:  ‘Don’t litter! The fine is $1,000, & you may be forced to pick up what you threw. Convictions go on your driving record.’ (Our italics, for emphasis.)

An attached photograph on the DMV post shows a picture of somebody dropping trash from the driver’s door window of a white car.

Photo of a road sign in Massachusetts showing fines for littering as $10,000.
Here’s a sign (in Massachusetts) that “up’s the ante” when it comes to disparity between fines for littering and fines for truly dangerous driving infractions. Copyright image.

Continue reading “Perverse Priorities in Punishments for Vehicular Infractions in the USA”