Have you ever been pulled over for not wearing your seat belt?
There’s a long back story…but the short story involves me driving Ian’s 94 White Ford Escort to Idaho with the automatic door belt stuck in the forward position. Since I couldn’t drive 8 hours with it like that, I unclipped it and drove with just the lap belt.
Not only was I stopped and ticketed once by Oregon Highway Patrol, but twice. I asked the 2nd officer how many tickets he thought I might get before the Idaho border? He shrugged and sent me on my way. I can’t say how glorious it was to cross the state line into Idaho where I knew I wouldn’t be bothered.
I ended up having to go to seatbelt school at Legacy Emmanual Hospital in order to have the charge removed from my record.
I think it was like 2 hours of gorry video showing every possible accident scenario with and without seatbelts.
I’ve been a pretty big seat belt advocate since then.
Here in Africa, there are seat belts in cars. But the only people I see wearing them are tourists, or us. Most of our workers laugh when we tell them they have to put the seatbelt on in our car. In the Centre van as well. They don’t fuss much about it anymore.
I guess there just hasn’t been one of those public service announcements by some important actor about the importance of seat belt use here in Africa. You’d think with the high mortality rates that they’d do all of the easy stuff to try and stay alive. Seat belts, motorcycle helmets….you catch my drift.
Our cook tried to put the seatbelt on (her first time ever) and after she ended up with wrapped around her neck twice, and tried to put the belt into the belt on the other seat (I know, that can’t even be done, but she tried), Ian surmissed that this was the first time a seatbelt had arisen to her consciousness and he stepped in to help her out. She thought he’d done a magic trick the way he latched it so easily.
Two taxi drivers have yelled at me in the last 2 days for having the back windows by the kids down. I think that they are afraid the kids might hop out of the car when we’re driving. They probably would too……except I have them BUCKLED!
We’ll see how many Kenyans I can get to buckle up!