Dear Jasper John
I learned something new thanks to my research into seat belts.
The Air Force was very instrumental in the passing of laws making seat belts mandatory
thanks in no mall measure to the work of Col. John Stapp
During his work at Holloman Air Force Base Stapp became interested in the implications of his work for car safety. At the time, cars were generally not fitted with seatbelts but Stapp had shown that a properly restrained human could survive far greater impacts than an unrestrained one. Many traffic accident deaths were therefore avoidable but for the lack of seatbelts. Stapp became a strong advocate and publicist for this cause, frequently steering interviews onto the subject, organizing conferences, and staging demonstrations (including the first known use of automobile crash test dummies). At one point the military objected to funding work they believed was outside their purview, but they were persuaded when Stapp gave them statistics showing that more Air Force pilots were killed in traffic accidents than in plane crashes. The culmination of his efforts came in 1966 when Stapp witnessed Lyndon B. Johnson sign the law making manufacture of cars with seatbelts (lapbelts at that time) compulsory.
John Paul Stapp, M.D., Ph.D., Colonel, USAF (Ret.) (11 July 1910–13 November 1999) was a career U.S. Air Force officer, USAF flight surgeon and pioneer in studying the effects of acceleration and deceleration forces on humans. He was a colleague and contemporary of Chuck Yeager, and became known as “the fastest man on earth”.
Stebbins, Donald M. (MC1961)
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Couldn’t use this in the Alumni news, but it was to good to loose.
I’d credit this “success” to the man; not the Gooferment. Even some good comes out of a “bad thing” (i.e., Gooferment).
I first heard about seat belts when my maternal Grandfather Eddie and my Dad put them in all the cars. Front and back. Long before I even knew what they were. Their use was condition of being allowed to use the car. It was so rare for my Grandfather to insist on ANYTHING, it made a big impression in my mind. This was back in the early 60’s.
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