Backseat of cab isn’t safer; wear your seatbelt!

SHARE Backseat of cab isn’t safer; wear your seatbelt!

PHOTO: John and Alicia Nash (right) arrive at the Academy Awards in 2002. | LAURA RAUCH~AP

Renowned mathematician John Nash and his wife, Alicia, likely were not wearing seatbelts when the taxi they were traveling in struck a rail on the side of the road and they were ejected from the vehicle, according to the latest press reports.

The couple — whose story was told in the Oscar-winning film “A Beautiful Mind” — died Saturday (May 23) in the crash.

I can tell you this, though: I know the last time I hopped into a cab in Chicago’s Loop, I wasn’t wearing one. And that’s the first thing I thought of when I heard about the Nash fatal accident.

If my riding sans belt surprises you, let me tell you, it does the same to me, too. When I am the driver I always wear my seatbelt. I never fail to say to my son, even at the age of 26, don’t forget to put your seatbelt on, whenever he gets in my car.

So why then do I occasionally skip fastening it around me when in a taxi? Maybe it’s an attempt at being mannerly, because often I am jumping in on a busy street and trying to avoid tying up traffic. Maybe it’s because I figure it’s going to be a short trip, which is a really stupid excuse. It’s not like there’s guaranteed safety in a quick voyage.

But I bet a major reason is because even if buckling up hadn’t become an automatic habit for me as drive, that incessant beep my car emits won’t shut up until the seatbelt is engaged.

Maybe we need the beeping added to the back seatbelts?

Until then, I’m going to do a better job of reminding myself no matter the vehicle and my spot in it, I gotta buckle up. (A New York Times article suggests I’m not the only one failing to buckle up in taxis. The “partition face” explanation sure caught my attention, though. Wow.)Maybe thinking of the sad demise of John Nash and his wife will help.

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