Do automakers have any responsibility for promoting safe driving? We think that the majority of people would agree that they do, yet for countless years there have been television commercials from automakers showing bad driving — particularly those which glorify speed, or dodging and weaving through traffic — which at the very least, quite deliberately contradict safety values and driver courtesy in the hope of generating more car sales. Some of it, however, seems to be sheer thoughtlessness or even ignorance and the images below would appear to be an example of this.
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?
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?
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!