We should've just went with the "eject driver" button, like we originally planned.
The problem was that automotive designers could only automate the shoulder belt -- starting the car caused the part of the seatbelt that runs from your shoulder to your hip to mechanically wrap you in its warm, polyester embrace. This created a two-point harness. But it turns out that the lap belt -- the third point in a three-point harness -- is the most crucial part ... and that part was still left up to the driver or passenger to buckle. Which, of course, they didn't do -- presumably out of spite for those oppressive belt fascists. If you're wearing a shoulder belt with no lap belt and you get into an accident, you're transferring all the momentum directly into your delicate neck meat. And at such velocity, that thin polyester strap may as well be a goddamn samurai sword.
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Fatalities were especially high in the Subaru Seppuku.
Thankfully, the automatic seatbelt fad was relatively short-lived. But it goes to show you: If you take away an American's freedom to be wildly careless with our own lives, you may as well just cut off our heads.