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From our archives: Install seat belts, then buckle up

What we thought: 50 years ago

Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Vehicles sold in Illinois starting in 1965, including models such as this 1965 Chevrolet Impala, were mandated to have two sets of seat belts installed in the front seat. A plan of widespread installation of seat belts and their regular usage was advocated in the Telegraph on May 28, 1964.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials and articles from the past as a regular weekly feature. The following items appeared in the Telegraph between May 27 and June 1, 1964.

Vacation? Install new seat belts

Planning a vacation? Plan to put safety into that vacation.

The fifth hour driver education class at Dixon High School urges Dixon area motorists to join the “Circle of Safety.”

Install seat belts in your car now, before starting on that summer vacation, and use them.

A cardinal rule of safety – wear seat belts – should become a byword for vacationers. Seat belts do save lives. The National [Safety] Council estimates that 5,000 of the 43,000 traffic fatalities last year in the nation could have been prevented had the victims been wearing seat belts.

An Illinois law passed during the last session of the General Assembly requires that all 1965 model cars sold in the state must be equipped with two seat belts in the front seat.

This new law should be a reminder to present car owners to have their autos equipped with seat belts and use them.

One of the phony arguments against the use of seat belts is that, in case of fire or submersion in event of accidents, the seat belt wearer may be trapped in the car. This has been completely disproved by safety experts. Fewer than 1 percent of injury accidents involve fire or submersion. However, the wearer of seat belts has a better than 100 to 1 chance to so control his car that freeing himself is a matter of common reflex action.

One of the byproducts in the use of seat belts is the lessening of fatigue on long trips. Wearers find that seat belts induce correct posture, keep them alert and refreshed.

Take that second or two to fasten your seat belt before you turn on the ignition key, and every time a passenger enters your car, see to it that the “Fasten your seat belt” announcement is made.

The extra dividend may be the saving of a life or a serious injury. For the safety of yourself and family, follow this cardinal rule of safety – wear seat belts! – May 28, 1964

Our beautiful


We think that Oakwood Cemetery looked beautiful on Memorial Day, and therefore we are most happy to publicly thank custodian Ed Slain and his cemetery crew for the splendid job well done.

A number of Dixon citizens have mentioned how beautiful the entire cemetery looked, and we are congratulating Ed and his crew for all of the people who have loved ones in Oakwood. It goes without saying that the cemetery is kept up in a fine, beautiful way the year around, for which we should all be grateful.

Oakwood Cemetery comes under the Department of Public Property, and Commissioner Lyle Ballard is the man who is overall responsible and should also share in the praise. – June 1, 1964

Dixon’s to-do list

For a better Dixon, we need:

• More industry.

• Wider downtown streets.

• Stop dumping sewage in Rock River.

• Conversion of large island into park.

• Lincoln tollway or freeway to Chicago.

• Replace elm trees.

• Longer airport runways.

• Third bridge built across Rock River. – June 1, 1964

U.S. on tightrope

in Southeast Asia

“In Korea, you Americans finally learned a lesson. It is that Communist force must be met with American force. More recently, you seem to have forgotten that lesson.”

The speaker was young (32) Gen. Kong Le, one of the leaders of the “Neutralist” third of the rightist-neutralist-Communist governing arrangement in Laos.

Kong Le had bigger words about what he considered America’s lack of purpose in Southeast Asia.

“Should you Americans find yourselves tired of the shooting, then, I say, don’t just pull out of Laos, as you did two years ago, or out of South Vietnam. ...

“Better that you pull out of the whole area at once – out of Thailand, out of Taiwan ... order the Seventh Fleet out of the South China Sea. If you are going to quit us, then the sooner, the better and the quicker, the better. It will shorten our agony.”

The United States has no intention of abandoning Southeast Asia, but we are currently performing a delicate balancing act.

We must on the one hand be unmistakably firm about our intentions in the area:

“The United States cannot stand by while Southeast Asia is overrun,” said Adlai Stevenson in a major speech before the United Nations.

At the same time, just how can we back up this firmness in Laos or in South Vietnam?

Continued Communist nibbling away at the area, and deeper and deeper U.S. involvement, might well escalate the situation into something worse than Korea. – May 27, 1964

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