First, let me say that I am in favor of wearing my seatbelt and of not dying. I know that sounds stupid, that I’m in favor of not dying, but it had to be said because I know that seatbelts save lives. I also know that seatbelts are mandatory in most countries in the world, in some form or another, so I’m also a fan of not getting a ticket or a fine. Second, however, I am also a fan of choice and of being able to decide one’s own fate. This is why I’m horribly annoyed by cars that “remind” people to put on their seatbelts. This is not a gentle reminder, mind you, like a tiny LED that lights up (although that’s part of the “reminder”), this is a full-on beeping, buzzing, chirping alarm that continuously sounds until the passenger and driver have clicked their seatbelts.
How many times have you gotten into a car like this for a few seconds, and forgotten to put on your seatbelt, only to have the incessant beeping infiltrate your brain like some kind of sonic earwig?!?!? These cars are annoying people into wearing their seatbelts. They continue with the incessant noise (and it’s not a pleasant noise, mind you) until the belt is clicked in. Some even increase the volume or the frequency of the beeps the longer it has to wait for the driver or passenger to put on their seatbelt. This noise stays with you for the rest of the day and even infiltrates your sleep and quiet time. It’s an annoying sound that forces people to conform to what others think is right for them, and not allow them to make their own decisions. That’s the simplest form of coercion….annoying someone into doing something they might not necessarily want to do (children learn this basic level of annoyance early on when they discover that if they repeat something over and over, their parents just may say ok). Unfortunately, almost all cars manufactured today come with this “feature!”
Apparently, I’m not the only one who gets annoyed with this lack of choice that is forced upon us by this noisy “reminder.” In doing the research for this blog, I came across this website: http://www.seatbeltalarmstop.com. They sell seatbelt inserts that people can keep in their seatbelt buckle. These inserts trick the car into thinking that the person has buckled their seatbelt when they have only inserted a fake belt into the buckle. They have different sizes for the different belts, and they even have ones with their own buckles, so you can connect your seatbelt, should you so choose. What these things do is shut the damn alarm up! That incessant, overbearing alarm that is basically saying to you “you have no choice” with every beep is silenced. I know that people should wear their seatbelts and that not doing so can result in fines or tickets, but people should have the choice to risk their lives and their wallets. These alarms don’t really give anyone that choice because they are so annoying and so pervasive that people just put the belt on to shut them up (which is their job, I’m aware). I just wish they would allow more room for choice, rather than being totalitarian seatbelt Nazis!