Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Bad Scare Is Better Than Good Advice

As an emergency care worker, (as much as I hate that name I have to use it for this blog) I cannot express enough the importance of wearing a seat belt. Twenty years of mending the injured and covering the dead have forced my hand with this blog entry. No matter how hard the public safety sector politely tries to warn the driving population of the dangers of driving unrestrained, some folks just don’t get the picture. My state in particular (like a lot of other states) has a “Click it or Ticket” law. However I recently overheard someone say that the twenty-five dollar fine was fair enough to ride without a seat belt. "Click it or Ticket" is a toothless law in my book. Now what would have a nasty bite is a two thousand fine for the first offense and impounding of your automobile for thirty days for the second offense. But there is no way that bill would pass. And the sole reason I am not a politician.

The photo above is an open tibia fracture and more than likely a person in pain ,probably the result of a bad accident. This image was pulled from Ogrish, a website dedicated to blood guts and gore and responsible for a lot of sleepless nights. I posted this image here for one reason only---shock value. Now just imagine if you woke up one morning and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to throw off the gloves and show what really happens when you have an accident without the proper protection. I could only imagine the horror as millions of Americans woke up, to the most graphic Public Service Announcement money could buy. I can see it now:

Bob American is driving down any one of the nation’s interstate systems, his cell phone rings. Driving with one hand he chats incessantly while maneuvering through the morning rush hour traffic. Noticing his exit he puts on his turn signal and drifts onto the exit ramp. The intersection light ahead has just turn green so he doesn’t slow down. Out of the corner of his right eye he sees a dark image. Headlights…silver grille….BAM...truck….t-bone…Bob is thrown out of the driver’s side window. Wait it gets better. The green Chevy behind Bob cannot brake in time and runs over his battered body. The camera zooms in on a single shoe tumbling slowly in midair. The scene speeds up as Bob flips and cartwheels into oncoming traffic. The camera flashes. Once for each time he is hit by a car. Four flashes later the spot ends with the camera zooming in tight on his bruised face with the scene fading as he takes his last breaths. The screen goes black with a tiny caption that reads, “Wear your seat belt”.

As much as I would like to see that public service announcement I know there would be a national uproar about how graphic the spot was. There would be angry parents who would make the talk show circuit claiming their children won’t ride in cars, psychologist who would offer free therapy to those affected and thousands of calls to remove the public safety announcement. However there would be more people putting seatbelts on faster than you could shake a stick at. Now say for example in real life, Bob was thrown out of his vehicle into oncoming traffic but the traffic swerved to miss him. Do you think he would wear his seat belt from then on? Of course he would.

As this blog is titled, sometimes it takes a little frightening in order to get someone’s attention. Do you remember the “brains of drugs” segment? I cannot help but think of it when ever I see an egg sunny side up or how about the girl diving into the dry swimming pool. Where did those type segments go? Since when did we become so touchy feely that we cannot emphasis the seriousness of death and disability. We have to find a way to get through to our fellow citizens when it comes to being safe. Personally there is no worst feeling than covering a body of a person that has been killed upon ejection in a car wreck. I have performed that task to many times to count. And sometimes I just want to kneel down beside the body as whisper, “Well since you screwed that one up what do you do now?” But I don’t, lest they lock me away in a padded cell.


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