I'm a bit of a CSI (pick the city) freak. Love the colourful shots of the cities and The Who background music, and the science-based approach to crime-solving appeals to my engineery side.
Also appealing is the fact that all CSI investigators seem to be gorgeous babes. You don't suppose that's only on TV, do you?
But I watched an episode today (which I think is this season; when you PVR everything, who knows for sure?) and you gotta wonder who the heck the writers/directors/producers are, and what they're thinking.
The episode revolves around a fatal crash in Miami, in which a Cadillac Escalade rams into the back end of an old Bentley, the Slade rolls several times, and two people die - the "alleged" driver of the Cadillac at the scene, and (later, due to some post-event brain-scrambling condition) the driver of the Bentley.
In the course of the investigation, the team carefully reconstructs the Caddy roll-over via computer simulation to try and determine where the bodies were before and during the crash, because they have some doubts as to who was actually behind the wheel at the time.
I don't know how accurate or realistic such technology is. But the investigators note that at least one occupant, the 'son' in the back seat, flailed all over the place. He survived.
At NO point does any of them make any mention of the fact that nobody appears to have been wearing a seat belt!
I mean, they are cops, trained to look for answers. Do seat belts not even cross their minds?
The team eventually determines that the 14-year old 'daughter' was actually driving (why was THAT allowed to be shown?) In a flashback during the closing credits they show her actually WEARING a belt. Mom is being very solicitous, making sure daughter doesn't speed - and is NOT wearing a belt! Fine example she's setting.
Yet one of the main plot points - the fact that the daughter, not the Mom, was driving - was brought into question because the daughter had been found well outside the vehicle, having been thrown clear. And she survived!
Obviously, two things are wrong here:
- If she HAD been belted, as the closing flashback clearly shows, she would not have been thrown clear;
- if she had been thrown clear, she almost certainly would not have survived a multiple roll-over.
Such is the lack of up-front thinking on the part of so-called creative people about the most important safety device ever invented - probably in ANY sphere of human activity, never mind just traffic safety.
OK, so it's only television. But the fact that Americans kill themselves way disproportionally to Canadians on the highways, and the difference can be 100 percent blamed on their lack of belt wearing, you'd think popular culture would at least TRY to show a better example.
The safety people in the US are currently claiming about 83 percent belt wearing rate nation-wide, but I'm sure it's much lower than that. (Canada is about 95 percent nation-wide). Other reports have the US number as low as 70 percent, which is supported by the disproportionate number of traffic deaths down there. We do about 2700 annually; based on the population ratio of about ten to one, they should do about 27,000, but it's well over 40,000, and the only substantive difference in our traffic pattern is belt use.
All US states now except New Hampshire have belt-wearing laws. But about 18 of those at last count still only have them as so-called 'secondary' offenses - a cop can't pull someone over JUST for not wearing a belt; if they nab someone for something - anything - else they can add 'no belt' to the citation.
Which is the epitome of dumb. If the objective is traffic safety (and let's assume for the sake of argument that it is), then about the ONLY two things that matter are impaired driving and belt use.
And of course, chances are if you do get involved in a car crash down there you'll be bankrupted by their medical system.
Aren't we all glad we live in Canada?