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Do you disagree?

There is a lot of information on this website, and it's easy to come here, read a bit, and possibly form a strong opinion against this campaign without knowing some important details.

Here are a few points I'd like to clarify...

What I am asking is that automobile manufacturers provide a means for any passenger who fits in a particular vehicle to be able to fasten the seat belt. This can be accomplished through seat belt extenders and making longer seat belts an option at the time of purchase.

Longer seat belts for larger passengers will cost YOU, the average automobile customer, NOTHING. I am asking that longer seat belts be made an option at the time of purchase, and that seat belt extenders be made available for purchase. This means that the person who needs the longer belts will be paying the added expense.

I am not asking that Honda or any other manufacturer modify their vehicles in ANY way. A seat belt extender can be added or removed with one simple click, making it extremely easy to add or remove as needed. People who do not need longer seat belts will never be at risk because a larger passenger does need it. One click and it's on OR off.

Honda says that it would be "easy and fairly inexpensive to provide extenders." Twenty-two other manufacturers do provide seat belt extenders, and have been doing so for years. Why won't Honda? Because they say that "it would not be in the best interest of [my] safety" for them to do so. Twenty-two other manufacturers do provide seat belt extenders, and have been doing so for years. Would they do that if they were unsafe? Honda never replied when I asked them to produce evidence of scientific research proving that seat belt extenders are unsafe.
The bottom line is that Honda offers larger passengers no alterative to riding unbelted.

I would also like to address comments I've received from visitors to this website:

"The solution to your problem is that you just need to lose some weight."


This is a much more global issue that one fat woman asking for a seat belt. No matter how many diets I may go on or how much weight I might lose, the fact will remain that there are people in our country who weigh more than 215 pounds, and they will be driving automobiles.

The best example I can give for the importance of all passengers being belted is to quote from a letter I received from Mark Gaudet, an emergency medical team instructor.

"Let us not forget, the primary purpose of the seatbelt, second only to the protection of the individual restrained, is to keep all the occupants of the vehicle in their places should a crash occur. Imagine a minor motor vehicle crash occuring, and the drive losing his/her place in the vehicle. How much control of the vehicle can be maintained then? Also imagine a projectile larger than 215 pounds being propelled at the restrained driver during a minor crash. How much control of the vehicle can be maintained then? The point being, seatbelts not only save the lives of the occupants of the offending vehicle in a crash, but provide the driver with a better opportunity for controlling the vehicle after the crash. This can not be done if the occupants are knocking each other out of position in the vehicle, more importantly knocking the driver away from the controlling features of the vehicle."

Some of you have written in asking why I didn't just buy a vehicle that fits me?

The Honda Odyssey fits me great, far better than any other vehicle I tried from any other manufacturer. It is the most size-friendly vehicle I have ever ridden in, in all ways except for the seat belts being too short. Honda marketed my Odyssey as the "biggest Honda ever," "more spacious and versatile," "one big happy minivan." I have lots of leg room, the seats are wide and comfortable, there's a grab bar on the back on the two front seats to give an extra hand to passengers who need it, and I can stretch out my right leg when I'm riding in the front seat passenger side, because there is no big hump over the right front wheel. A better question to ask would be why is Honda is producing a vehicle that larger people are going to be attracted to, and yet not addressing the need for longer seat belts?

It's also important to note that the Odyssey is not the only Honda that people are having trouble with the seat belts in. The Honda Civic is a very popular car among large people, because it's reliable, it's sporty, and for a smaller car, it's relatively roomy on the inside, yet many large people who own or ride in these vehicles cannot buckle their seat belts or the belts are so tight as to be too uncomfortable to wear. I have gotten numerous complaints about seat belts for every Honda model.

If you've read all this, but still can't understand what the big deal is, I agree.

It seems like such a simple issue. Honda says that it would be "easy and fairly inexpensive to provide extenders," yet they are not going to do it. Twenty-two other manufacturers provide extenders. Seat belt extenders are not available for purchase after-market. An extender is about 4 - 8 inches long, and costs around $25.

My guess is that Honda has faced liability in the past for seat belt problems and that their legal counsel is advising them to follow the law but do no more than the law requires. Unfortunately this federal regulation was written at a time when we didn't know the value of seat belts, and at a time when there were no laws requiring their use.

If the federal regulation is updated so that manufacturers are required to provide seat belt assemblies that fit any passenger who fits in a particular vehicle, it would free Honda from whatever legal liability and social responsibility tug-of-war they may be experiencing over this issue. It would also make me, and the millions of other people out there who weigh more than 215 lbs., safer in our vehicles. That's a win-win situation, one I'm certain we'd all like to have.