Monday, July 23, 2007

Living Dangerously


Spaniards may be gradually adopting safer habits, but they're not going easily. Helmets on motorbikes: yes. Banning cellphone use while driving: yes. Giving up cigarettes: not so much. To wit: the strange behavior of cab drivers when it comes to seat belts.

I have never seen a cab driver wear a seatbelt while he is driving in the city. Maybe they think it would impede their ability to gesticulate wildly while discussing the important topics of the day (how Zapatero is flushing the country down the toilet; what went wrong with the Barça this year; ham).

Cabdrivers will, however, routinely buckle up as they pull out of the airport and onto the freeway. Probably there's a law requiring it. Sometimes they'll even check to make sure you've got yours on too. But then, as soon as they hit urban streets--that is, the very second they pull off the exit--off comes the seatbelt. As if they couldn't stand the crushing weight of restraint a moment longer. Because no one ever rammed into an oncoming car or rear-ended a parked vehicle on a city street.

3 comments:

spanishben said...

Apparently they think it makes them less likely to be violently robbed by the person in the back seat, and the fact they put the seat belt on on highways is just a grudging concession to a rule they hate. I think there is an unspoken agreement with the police - they will be fined for not wearing it on freeways, but not in town where they might need to get out of their cab fast...

Robert said...

yep, in barca a cab driver told me in the back to put my seat belt on. but he didn't because he doesn't have too. then out on the motorway he still didn't put it on...although he conceded that he should. i think they get 2 penalty points if they're caught outside the city without a seat belt.

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