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Traffic safety lessons ignored in confronting COVID-19
  1. Leonard Evans
  1. Science Serving Society, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leonard Evans, Science Serving Society, 973 Satterlee Road, Blooomfield Hills, Michigan 48304, USA; LE{at}

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Traffic safety policy in the USA has been a catastrophic failure because it rejects science.1–3 This notwithstanding, some successful US traffic safety measures provide lessons that were ignored in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.

After safety belts were installed in vehicles, government and industry promoted belt use. Still, US belt-wearing rates stagnated at around 14%. Rates reached 90% only after mandatory laws were passed. Laws requiring masks to inhibit COVID-19 ran into passionate opposition using the freedom argument that government should not tell citizens what to do. Yet the case against compulsory belt-wearing is vastly more persuasive than the case against compulsory mask wearing. Not wearing a belt threatens directly only the non-wearer, whereas not wearing a mask threatens everyone in the vicinity of the non-wearer.

Many politicians use the freedom argument to claim that citizens have the right to be in public unvaccinated and to keep their vaccination …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.