Chinese safety belt t-shirtEnlarge Photo
Sometimes, inventions are revolutionary. When the iPhone debuted in 2007, the world let out a collective gasp, as if to say, "Yes, that's just what I've been wanting!"
Sometimes, inventions are dull. Ginsu knives and the ShamWow do things that other products do, they just claim to do them better. Meh.
And sometimes, inventions are complete head-scratchers. In Japan, there's a whole category for such creations called chindōgu: inventions that seem clever on paper, but in practice become completely ridiculous.
We'll let you guess which category the "safety belt t-shirt" falls into.
The safety belt t-shirt is, quite simply, a white t-shirt that features a black strap running diagonally across the chest. It's meant to fool Chinese police officers into thinking that the driver is wearing a seatbelt.
That's important because just as in most of the U.S. (New Hampshire excepted), drivers in China are required to wear seatbelts. Those who don't must pay a fine of 50 yuan, or around $8.00, and have two points (out of a total 12) deducted from their driver's license.
Funny thing is, the t-shirts themselves cost up to 50 yuan. And obviously, they offer zero protection in the event of an accident. Which raises an important question: why not just wear the damn seatbelt?
Another funny thing: the Chinese weren't the first to think of this. In fact, a quick search of shopping sites reveals an assortment of safety belt t-shirts on sale here in America. You'll have to decide for yourself whether they belong in your closet.
[via John Voelcker]