Seat-Belt? Oh. No. Thanks!

There are many common practices that does not make common sense. People’s resistance of seat-belt is a typical one.

Many people HATE seat-belts, especially taxi drivers.

This morning, I get on board a Jinjiang taxi. The driver drove like crazy, and set the record time to get to Xujiahui from where I live in Pudong.

He don’t like seat-belt.

In Shanghai, if someone is caught driving without seat-belt, he will be fined 200 RMB. So, this is what happened.

Every time he passed a crossroad with policeman there, he put on the seat-belt, and he remove it as soon as the car rear passed the policeman. Along the road, he put the seat-belt on, and off, one and off, on and off, on and off… Even I, as a passenger got annoyed.

This also happens to me. When someone get on board my car, I always need to reminder them for the safe belt. Some did, but many (more than 50%) felt and confused. There are typically three types of answers.

  • “We are not going to expressway. What’s the use of seat-belt?”
  • “Policemen all went home already.”
  • “That is not comfortable. It is the time to relax”

OK. Well…

When I walk and wait at the red light, sometime I did quick survey of the usage rate of seat-belt. My personal data at Guangyuan Road (before the SJTU gate) is, as more as 70% of drivers in Shanghai don’t take seat-belt.

I am sure more people will take seat-belt in the future, when they understand seat-belt is not just a mouse-and-cat game to play with policemen.

26 thoughts on “Seat-Belt? Oh. No. Thanks!

  1. Shrek7, why do you need seat belt when the plane is flying. It will not make an emergency brake :) If an airplane crashed, nothing will survive anyway.

  2. Should the plane encounter turbulence, it can easily send a passanger airborne inside the cabin if not strap to the seat. Last year, an AirCanada flight departed from PVG encountered terbulence and send six passangers and crew to hospital after emergency landing in Japan.

  3. Not wearing seat belt is not only dangerous to yourself, but also dangerous to other people on the car as people tend to fall around during the crash if not hold back by seat belt.

  4. Wearing a seat belt in Shanghai is like being polite and courteous to people you don’t know… it just WON’T happen in our lifetime.

  5. “That is not comfortable. It is the time to relax”

    Ask them just how “comfortable” it would be to have their face go through the windshield in the event of an accident…

  6. The 3 common reasons are absolutely crazy! And also the comment “maybe,because we never need seat-belt when we sit on chairs” is not good enough an excuse! The Shanghainese can takes efforts in mimicking the west, but why can’t they take on some good qualities from the west, like for instance wearing seatbelts.

  7. I feel very uncomfortable without using a seat belt. In Germany the fee is 850RMB and you get 2 points (There is a list which violation is worth how many points, at 18pts. you lose your licence and have to renew it with psychological and physological control. Speeding more than 20km/h in the city is 1pt, a tire without profile is 3pt and 800RMB (I know that for sure!!!) and so on)

    In Italy the people feel the same. Since they are not on the motorway the don’t use it. Kids are climbing around in the car and as soon as they leave the motorway they get rid of the belt.

    If you go on ‘walkspeed’ you can already breake your arms if you come to a immidiate stop and try to avoid get hit your head against the front shield. If you’re going 30km/h you can already be dealdy injured.

    In Germany I even fasten my seatblet when driving the car 20m into my garage. I am just used to it! And I am glad about that habtit!

    Best regards,


  8. “That is not comfortable. It is the time to relax”

    By far my favorite! If someone thinks this this way… when is it NOT the time to relax?

    Out of the three, it’s the most hilarious argument to me.

  9. @DC – I was on a flight a couple of years ago, and the plane hit turbulence… People not wearing belts were thrown from their seats… I watched one air hostess hit the roof and break her nose. Seatbelts should always be worn on a plane (even when the seatbelt signs are off), and only take it off to use the bathroom… the incident converted me – now I always stay buckled up – and I travel on at least 4 to 6 flights every week… :p

  10. Problem for me of wearing a seat belt while taking a taxi in Shanghai city is the driver always thinks I am distrustful of his driving skill.

  11. Our governer (Jon Corzine, New Jersey) spent weeks in a hospital because he was not wearing a seatbelt when his motorcade went off the road and crashed into a tree. He was lucky he was still alive. Broken ribs, fracture his leg, etc. Not a situation you want to be in.

  12. Princess Diana would have survived the Paris tunnel crash if she had worn her seatbelt. Of the four people in the car, only one survived: the bodyguard. He was the only person wearing a seatbelt!

  13. Diana Topic: When my driver (If I would have one of course) is flying through Paris with a couple of Paparazzi on our ass I would wear the seatbelt at any means! Can’t understand that!

  14. I remember when i gave birth to my little girl in a US hospital, the baby-car-seat was mandatory by the Law. The nurse had to make sure that we bought one and knew how to pack the baby in; otherwise, we were not allow to check out. When we put the baby into that seat, she watched us very carefully. So not only the adults need to wear the seat-belt, but also the babies and kids under 12 need a special car-seat to fasten themselves in back-row seat. It might reqiured by law but also for the high rate of car accidents. Back to China, we were continue to use the baby-car-seat until she is outgrowth the first car-seat,which likes a samll cradle with five-security-points. It seemed very weird in China–you can see baby held by a adult seating the front seat everywhere. Of course, now i have to confess, since we have been living here for 4 years and girl is 5 year-old, she refused to sit in the special-car-seat maybe because that second one also turned into small size comparing to her growth body.

    The good habit is she always sits in the back-row-seat, even she keeps questioning me why other kids are allowed to sit in front-seat. But your article has reminds me a thing that i have to require and insist that she puts on the seat-belt as we always do. Thanks Jianshou! I knew you also have a little boy, do you put him in the special-baby-seat while you are driving the car? In China, nobody care about this, at least, i have never heard we have such transportion law–a blank area-sad for our kids!

  15. I went to Shanghai this summer, and I only saw one driver that actually wearing a seatbelt. That was when I was leaving for the airport.

  16. it’s rediculous, some drivers even disable seatbelt warning beeps on newer cars by slot the belt in it’s socket then SIT ON the belt.

    I think people like that have a death wish. As long as they only risk their own livesm i don’t acre – the more get killed this way the more important people will realise how important sealbelt is.

    I refuse to get on taxi’s without seatbelts.

    It’s difficult in Chinese however – some Taxis have got no back seat belt at all! Sometimes I just refuse to get on and walked instead.

  17. Shanghai taxi’s safety belt? sometime you just don’t fee like wearing because it is so dirty. If you’re wearing a white shirt, you probably have an artistic stripe over your body when you get down from the taxi… hehe…

  18. The first thing I do when I get into a car, any car, is to put my seat-belt on. In our country there’s a lot of car accedents, and I prefer being uncomfortable than ded.

  19. Wangjianshuo, your blog and the way you write are wonderful. I am a foreigner in China and I enjoy every text you write. Thank you.

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