The Fifties Most people weren't afraid of far more likely disasters such as car accidents. This is in part because people were more fatalistic — each year of the Fifties saw ten or more major air crashes in the US, with hundreds killed per year — but also because people simply didn't think about safety at all . Airports used to have machines that sold life insurance; you could plug in a few quarters and buy "accident insurance" that would pay out a small amount to your loved ones if you died in a crash. Seat belts existed, but were far from standard, and often not used even when the car had them. Someone actually sent Ford a letter asking them to please stop installing seatbelts, as they were too uncomfortable to sit on. You could forget car seats for babies and small children, too; it wasn't uncommon for a woman with a toddler to drive with the kid on her lap, something that can get you arrested today. People
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Conscription in the United States, major air crashes, lurid true crime, Fifties newspapers