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Seatbelt ignition interlocks haven't been used since the 70s

Seatbelts have been mandatory in the United States for decades, but many drivers and passengers still refused to wear them. Federal regulators are currently conducting more research on whether or not they will allow automakers to install seatbelt ignition interlocks that would allow the manufacturer to skip crash tests designed to protect unbelted motorists.

The seatbelt ignition interlock would prevent the automobile from starting unless the seatbelt was clasped. Back in 1974 the government required interlocks on nearly all 1974 year model vehicles. However, public outcry led Congress to banish the mandate.

This week the NHTSA reportedly rejected a petition from BMW that would allow the German automaker to skip certain crash testing requirements if it installed seatbelt interlocks in front seats. BMW apparently feels that it could make better use of its resources by not catering to those who refuse to buckle up. In essence, this means that if you choose not to buckle up, you’re own your own, as there won’t be any additional safety features to protect you in the event of a crash.

BMW M4 Coupe Concept

Although the NHTSA denied BMW’s petition for now, the agency said that more information was needed before it can grant such a request.
BMW maintains that having seatbelt ignition interlocks could save hundreds of lives by increasing seatbelt use. BMW also says that using these interlocks could make vehicles lighter and more spacious by allowing them to remove knee bolsters designed to protect unbelted occupants.
Lighter weight vehicles mean vehicles with not only improved fuel efficiency, but improved performance as well.

BMW outlined three different potential types of interlocks including one that would prevent the vehicle from being started without a seatbelt in place. Another would prevent the driver from shifting out of Park and a third would allow the vehicle to be driven only at low speeds without the seatbelt being buckled.
BMW concluded that the third option would be the "least annoying and most accepted type of interlock."

Source: Detroit News

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Unbuckled Drivers Impact Everyone
By OnTheOtherHand on 8/30/2013 11:08:46 AM , Rating: 3
The injuries and deaths unbuckled drivers experience impact my insurance bill, my hospital bill, and my taxes.

We should pass laws and force people to wear seatbelts because I'm sick and tired of paying for stupidity.

RE: Unbuckled Drivers Impact Everyone
By russki on 8/30/2013 11:24:02 AM , Rating: 2
I think a better alternative would be to limit vehicle speed to say 5 or 10 mph rather than not be able to start it.
I hate how the government is trying to tell us all how to live. Why dont these morons worry about themselves?

RE: Unbuckled Drivers Impact Everyone
By Etsp on 8/30/2013 11:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for reading the article! The one that states, this is NOT the government trying to implement this, and the one that states the the PRIVATE COMPANY behind this believes that a speed limiter is probably the best approach, rather than a kill-switch.

By wookie1 on 8/30/2013 3:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
The private companies are trying to avoid the government-mandated costs of crash tests with unbuckled occupants - that's how we end up with these choices that omit the option of not crash testing without seat belts nor forcing the extra crash testing.

By jRaskell on 8/30/2013 12:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
Telling everyone how to live is certainly one option.

On the other hand, changing the system so that their stupidity doesn't impact everyone elses insurance rates, taxes, and costs of healthcare would be more palatable for me. But then, I've always been all about personal accountability vs. nanny states. Sadly it looks like the majority of the world prefers nanny states to handle it for them.

RE: Unbuckled Drivers Impact Everyone
By KFZ on 8/30/2013 7:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
It already is the law where I live. I've gone through "seatbelt enforcement zones" staffed by a small army of law enforcement doing nothing but looking intimidating at passing cars rather than finding something better to do with their time and taxpayer money.

Your argument is a gigantic slippery slope that could equally justify all kinds of draconian laws. The AHCA here in the states already bankrupted common sense by tapping everyone for health insurance because there was no other way to support the system of providing coverage to people who couldn't afford it to begin with.

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