Today, most American drivers don't think twice about buckling up when getting behind the wheel.
But there was a time when the seatbelt mandate was unpopular with drivers who didn't like being told what to do. Sound familiar?
States began creating seatbelt legislation in the 1980s, starting with New York, in 1984.
New Hampshire, known by its official state motto "Live Free or Die," is the only state in the U.S. without a seatbelt law for adult drivers.
A news clip from the 80s about the public's negative reaction to increasing seatbelt mandates is being compared to today's polarization of Americans reacting to the COVID-19 vaccine.
What sparked the comparison was The Daily Show featuring a clip from the 80s where drivers from Florida and Michigan voiced their opposition to the road rule designed to protect them.
In the vintage footage, a Florida highway patrol officer discussed the usual complaints when confronting a driver ignoring the seatbelt mandate, including, "It's uncomfortable," and "It wrinkles my clothes."
One passenger in the news interview bemoaned, "There's no freedom no more. If you don't want to wear it, that's your choice"
The clip from a February 4, 1984 news report in Richland, Michigan, said the village's council had unanimously requested a seatbelt ordinance, which was unanimously opposed by the community.
One local said he was "shocked," while another said he would boycott passing through Richland if they passed the seatbelt ordinance.
The fight against seat belts 1984 youtu.be
After reviewing the old footage, social media users saw those opposed to seatbelts in the 80s and anti-vaxxers in 2021 having something in common—which is the fact that both have strong objections to regulations that have been proven and effective in saving lives.
The unfortunate reality is that many anti-vaxxers today, much like unbuckled drivers then, have come to their senses but only until after it was too late.