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Don’t Forget to Buckle-Up in the Back Seat as Well!

It’s a holiday and the heat of the day has finally abated. At the invitation of their boss Hiroshi and his wife Miyako, Anika and Somboon have enjoyed a camping expedition in the country. With Hiroshi as their driver, the party are about to make their way home.

Don’t Forget to Buckle-Up in the Back Seat as Well!

Hiroshi

Let’s get underway, I hope you are all prepared.

Miyako

Hold on for a moment! Somboon, make sure to buckle-up your seatbelt.

Somboon

Sorry for that. Because when I was back in Bangkok we didn’t buckle-up in the backseat, I forgot to do it. Actually, it only became mandatory in Thailand for all occupants of motor vehicles to wear seat belts in April of this year.

Miyako

In Japan, it became mandatory for all occupants of motor vehicles to wear seatbelts back in 2008. However, despite a fair bit of time having subsequently passed, the buckle-up rate for backseat passengers still hasn’t risen as high as you might think.

Anika

I think the buckle-up rate for backseat passengers wearing their seat belts in Germany is almost 100%.

Hiroshi

That’s very high! On general roads, I think the buckle-up rate for backseat passengers in Japan is around 30%, while on the nation’s expressways it is around 70%.

Anika

What does that mean, does it mean that many people are not aware that it is mandatory for everybody to wear a seatbelt? On the other hand, does it mean that some people just couldn’t be bothered?

Somboon

Does it possibly mean that some people believe that traveling in the backseat of a vehicle is much safer than sitting up front in the driver’s or passenger’s seat?

Hiroshi

That isn’t the case of course. Due to the force of a collision, there is the danger of backseat passengers being thrown out of a vehicle if they don’t buckle-up! They don’t even need to be thrown outside. Rather they can be seriously injured by being thrown about violently inside the vehicle. What is more, by being thrown forwards, they can also end up inflicting life-threatening injuries on whoever happens to be traveling up front.

Anika

It doesn’t really matter how safe the vehicle you are traveling in claims to be, if seatbelt buckle-up rates are low, nothing good results. In order to protect both your own life and the lives of those people with whom you travel, the only solution is to make sure that you buckle-up your seatbelt.

Miyako

Furthermore, when traveling with small children in vehicles, I would really like people to make the effort to make sure that children are placed in child seats. When I see adults nursing babies while traveling in vehicles, and when I see small children buckled-up using seatbelts that are designed for adults, it really scares me!

Anika

I know that small children hate traveling in child seats and that they might end up crying while they are still unaccustomed to doing so. However, making sure that a child seat is used is the responsibility of adults.

All of a sudden while the four of them are traveling through the town in the late afternoon, an elderly person tries to cut across their path from a side road. By Hiroshi quickly hitting the brakes, a collision is avoided.

Somboon

That was close!

Hiroshi

We are lucky that I turned on my headlights early! If I hadn’t had my lights on, it would have probably taken me more time to become aware of the elderly person.

Miyako

Yes, it is said that it is rather easy for traffic accidents to occur at around last light.

Somboon

So rather than a completely dark night, it is more dangerous at around last light?

Miyako

That is correct. Even at last light, our eyes are drawn to whatever bright patches of sky remain. As such, we become slower in detecting those pedestrians who try and cross roads that have already become dark.

Anika

Furthermore, for pedestrians as well, they become unaware of vehicles that are approaching them, and on many occasions, they try unreasonably to cross the road because their perception of distance that gauges the position of vehicles in relationship to themselves becomes out of whack.

Hiroshi

For pedestrians and cyclists as well, it is better if they take steps to make their own existence known by wearing reflective clothing or turning on their own lights early, etc.

Miyako

That is especially the case when last light occurs on autumn evenings. It just happens so quickly that the human eye is unable to keep up. It is really dangerous.

Somboon

Please be careful driving Hiroshi!

Hiroshi

Don’t worry. I’ll make sure to drive safely and deliver everybody home in one piece!