China safety markets in everything

by on March 15, 2013 at 2:08 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

Chinese drivers hate to wear their safety belts. Instead, they wear specially designed clothing to pretend they are buckled up. But that won’t stop the seat-belt reminder lights and beeps, which are all extremely annoying.

It is possible to click the belt in the buckle behind your back but that is uncomfortable. It is also possible to fiddle with the electronics but that is difficult. Creative and innovative Chinese companies finally found an easy solution.


They are priced between fifty cents and $2.40.  Here is more, excellent photos too, and for the pointer I thank Michael Verdone.

1 ivvenalis March 15, 2013 at 2:19 am

You can usually just cut into the lining below the seat female seat belt connector and short the electrical connection completed by the buckle.

2 rapscallion March 15, 2013 at 2:44 am

In the states that will get you killed by cops.

3 prior_approval March 15, 2013 at 2:54 am

Who knew the Chinese were so liberal about open carry?

Oh, wait – they aren’t are they? This clearly being something other than a real gun, unlike the probability that in the U.S., authorities would react as if it were.

Actually, pretty much in anywhere that isn’t the U.S. or a warzone, it is easy to tell the difference between an imitation and a real gun.

4 James March 15, 2013 at 4:06 am

Sorry, but in New Zealand at least imitation guns are taken *very* seriously by the police. Not sure what countries you’re referring to.

5 prior_approval March 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

Did you look at that picture? At least in Germany, a policeman may have some interest, but unless you look like a kingpin in the Russian mafia, they are just likely to inquire, politely, what is going on with the pistol handgrip toy. And in Baden-Baden, they are going to inquire politely especially if you look like Russian mafia – Baden-Baden has standards for its residents that do not apply to other areas. (Lahr or Neckarau – not so much politeness.)

6 Andrew' March 15, 2013 at 8:26 am

Possibly in countries where you fear for your safety from others more than you fear for your safety from death by cop fake guns are useful.

7 Rahul March 15, 2013 at 3:21 am

Have designers gotten the annoyance-benefit tradeoff of seatbelts wrong or are people just irrationally stupid about doing needlessly risky antics.

8 Bill March 15, 2013 at 4:36 am

Maybe it is a liability issue? If this is the case, maybe the courts are the ones getting the balance wrong.

9 ivvenalis March 15, 2013 at 7:00 am

I’ve never been to China, but in every country in the Middle East and North Africa I’ve been to wearing a seatbelt was considered a sign of cowardice (they’re also reckless drivers to varying degrees, which suggests to me that it has more to do with future time orientation).

Anyway, the main annoyance to me is that the seatbelt alarm is usually combined with a weight sensor, and putting groceries in the passenger seat tends to set it off.

10 Rahul March 15, 2013 at 7:14 am

Could it be a matter of relative risk from other ways of dying? Seat belt induced risk reduction might be a drop in the bucket in most African nations.

It’s like putting “Warning: Wet Floor” signs in a Genocide Refugee Camp.

11 Andrew' March 15, 2013 at 7:51 am

Have you watched some of those Russian dash cams?

12 ivvenalis March 16, 2013 at 2:00 am

Even a cursory review of traffic deaths vs crime stats shows this isn’t true (it didn’t seem qualitatively true to me, either, but apparently not to the inhabitants). Morocco, one of the countries I was talking about, has an intentional homicide rate of 1.7 per 100k. The traffic death rate? 28/100k (wikipedia on both numbers). The worst-case scenario: in South Africa, notorious for criminal violence with decent reporting and no ongoing warfare, the intentional homicide and traffic death rate are about the same (they’re both really high, >30). So no, a rational calculation of “relative risk” isn’t the reason. It may be true that *some* identifiable groups are more at risk for homicide compared to traffic fatality, but that’s not true in general.

13 widmerpool March 15, 2013 at 4:35 am

These were common in Russia in the 1990s. Back then, it wasn’t just the case that drivers didn’t like to wear seatbelts, they didn’t their passengers wearing them either and would shout at you if you tried to put it on.

14 Michael B Sullivan March 15, 2013 at 11:24 am

An Israeli coworker asserts to me that in Israel, it’s an insult to the driver if the passenger wears a seat belt. Like “Oh, I don’t trust you.”

I genuinely don’t understand the level of built in distrust of seat belts that some individuals and apparently some whole cultures have. An (American) coworker seriously tried to argue to me that seat belts were unsafe because he wanted to be thrown clear of the accident. I was like, “Wait, really? There are actually people who believe that? Are you insane?”

15 nik March 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Just leave them be and let Darwin do his thing.

16 Roy March 15, 2013 at 7:04 am

Back when seatbelt interlocks were introduced in the US in the 70s there was a huge outcry. I remember how many people used to think they wanted to be thrown clear, it was a hugely different culture before people got used to them. Remember China just does not have any history of a driving culture, which is why driving, or walking, in a Chinese city is so terrifying. In the US almost every demographic has been familiar with cars for 80+ years, but in Mainland China cars are only really common since the early 90s. Seatbelts are pretty unnatural, it takes some awareness of just how deadly cars are to buckle up.

17 Roy March 15, 2013 at 7:05 am

I just ound this link discussing resistance to wearing seatbelts in the US

18 Careless March 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

I liked the bottle opener model. Funny, that and the gun are about the only two that aren’t IP theft

19 Nicoli March 15, 2013 at 9:23 am

I want one that doubles as a beer/wine opener.

20 Brett Dunbar March 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

How is selling something like that not illegal?

It has no possible legitimate purpose, its sole purpose is disabling the mandatory safety system. Which should be illegal, as should failing to use the seatbelt where fitted.

In the UK it is compulsory to fit front and rear seatbelts in new cars and if seatbelts are fitted you must use them or the driver can be fined. One result is that as use is essentially universal we can use lower pressure airbags which carry a significantly lower injury risk than they do in the USA. American airbags are designed to work on an unbelted driver, while European airbags are designed to supplement a seatbelt.

21 Jacob March 15, 2013 at 10:54 am

From my experience riding in cars in China, this is shocking. There is no place where I would want my seatbelt more!

22 theme March 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

This, in a country where the average breast size of women is a standard deviation below that of the West.

Cultural explanation: in China and the Middle East, “only suckers follow the rules”. In America, Japan, and Germany, everybody does (well, the White populations therein, anyway).

23 Mondfledermaus March 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

It reminded of some 20+ years ago in Mexico City … I saw a guy at a stop light selling white T-shirts with a black band running from the upper right to the lower left (” Argent Field with Sable Bend Sinister” in heraldry ). The taxi driver told me that cops just started enforcing the use of seat belts, but that many drivers either didn’t had them or hated to wear them so they wore those T-Shirts.

24 ChrisA March 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm

On the face of it, refusing to wear a seatbelt seems like a bad strategy, and a vindication of paternalistic government who are needed to enforce seatbelt laws. But the chances of needing your seat belt even in high risk countries is low. . The benefit you get from signalling your willingness to take risks (a common evolutionary strategy to demonstrate fitness to a potential mate) and avoidence of such costs of the seatbelts themselves, the need to maintain them (could be large in a 20 year old taxi) and so on, can easily outweigh the risk to the individual.

Primarily it is agency issues that is the reason that we have laws about seat belts, what is a small concern to an individual when accumulated over large numbers of people becomes a large issue for agents such as law enforcement leaders or politicians, as lack of seat belt deaths can be measured they can be used as a proxy for competence, which is normally quite hard to do. This is also the reason that large companies have health and safety campaigns about stuff that maybe can hurt one or two people a year. One example, in many companies you will see signs exhorting you to hold the handrail when descending stairs.

By the way I always wear my seatbelt and also hold the hand rail on stairs. I would like to say I made a rational decision to do this, but actually I suspect that it also about my signalling status in another way.

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