A flying saucer skirts across the screen as a narrator ominously declares, “You have just seen a UFO … For some people these letters represent an element of fear because they represent an unknown threat.” But “UFO” can represent another danger: “Unrestrained Flying Objects.” So begins this color film from the General Motors Corporation. Likely produced circa 1978 (though the Roman numeral copyright date — MCXXVIII — translates to the year 1128), the narrator explains at mark 01:07 that “Unrestrained Flying Objects” … are people. The film goes on to dramatically show, through the use of simulated accidents, what can and does happen to the occupants of an automobile when wearing lap and shoulder belts incorrectly … or not at all. As slow motion images of an unrestrained “dummy” appear on the screen, the narrator explains at mark 01:30, “How unusual we are. We fear the unknown but we’re apparently casual with predictable danger. Even when faced with 30,000 deaths.”
Mark 02:15 begins a series of common explanations as to why drivers and passengers dislike using seat belts, including the belief that making only short trips makes one immune to accidents, or the belief that it is better to be thrown clear of a vehicle in an accident.
Since 1964, we are told at mark 04:07, most major car manufacturers began installing front safety belts in their vehicles. Yet four out of five drivers still do not use them, says the narrator. The results can be deadly as at mark 04:27 the film shows another series of slow-motion footage involving crash test dummies, both with and without restraints. The film also stresses GM’s commitment to automotive safety, and beginning at mark 05:20 takes the audience to one of the company’s research facilities. There, the film shows us various sizes of anthropomorphic test dummies as well as many of the tests in which they are used. “Without the belt system, it’s ‘say hello’ to the steering wheel, the windshield, or the instrument panel,” we’re told at mark 08:10. At mark 09:23, the discusses the concept of the “friendly interior,” including 1970s-era recessed door handles, energy-absorbing steering columns and instrument panels, safer windshield glass.
Yet it is up to each individual to decide whether to use a seatbelt, the viewer is told. Each motorist and passenger must also accept the consequences of not using a seatbelt, especially for children. “Without proper protections,” the narrator says at mark 11:00, “an accident poses serious consequences for a child passenger.” And at mark 12:25, the GM film tells the viewer of a “space age” technology that can also save lives: the “air cushion restraint system.”
“Restraints, and the added safety they provide are as real as life itself,” the narrator reminds the viewer as the film ends.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com