Laryngectomee Traffic Stop

Video on how to behave

Furnished by San Antonio Police Department & San Antonio Lost Chord club


Some laryngectomees have difficulty wearing automobile seat belts.

1. Check out the Seat Belt Clips available at This might move the belt just enough for you to comfortably wear it.
Dutch Helms

2. I went to a store that made heavy canvas awnings. I took two ring snaps ( get at any hardware store) and had them fold heavy canvas at least three times and sew me a strap. Had a loop in one end and the snap in the other, I bolted an eye bolt to the floor of my car on the left side of my seat and I am set to go. I slip the loop over my regular seat belt and snap the hook into the floor eye bolt. It took a little accurate measuring but it works like a charm. My belt now rides across the center of my chest away from my stoma and I am very well anchored in my vehicles. I have to fasten the installed car belt and then snap my hook into the eye bolt.
Ron Gillette

3. Take a small paper cup (the three ounce size will do just fine) and place it between your chest and the seat belt. This will take the seat belt off of your stoma but, in the event of an accident, the belt will have only been extended by two inches or so and the paper cup will easily collapse to allow the belt to do its intended job. You can also use a piece of thick foam to do the job.
Syd Gartenberg

4. Although I am not a lary, I am short and have never used a seat belt comfortably until I copied my even-shorter mother, who used the fleece-like neck pads that fit on seat belts with Velcro, found at automotive supply stores.
Beverly Stewart

5. I had surgery 1985? Had lymph nodes removed, radiation, (cancer of tongue) All on left side of head. Asked Dr. about seat belts and he gave me letter to not wear one. No mandatory law at that time to wear one. In 2001, had laryngectomy. Washington State made it a law, wear a seat belt or a $80 fine. You will be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt and it is nice to have a Dr’s letter but you still will get pulled over to show the letter.
Ed DeBaugh


P.O. Box 1385, Sapulpa, OK 74067; Tel: (918) 224-4364. The SEAT BELT SLIDER was designed by an ex-Air Force pilot with comfort and safety in mind. The device is easy to install, just clip one end on the lap belt, then pull the shoulder belt down and fit into the other end. Now you can slide it along the lap belt till the shoulder belt is in a comfortable position away from your neck. This may be a handy device for laryngectomees bothered by their car’s seat belt position. Device can be found at

Seat Belt Emergency Information

A seat belt emergency information indicator could save a life in an accident when the person is unresponsive. This item comes in a variety of colors. It can tell the first responder that the person breathes through the neck and may be not be able to talk. They are available at the following link:


1. Some people have wondered about having the airbags in their cars inactivated due to concerns of the dust when deployed. Here is my answer to that. The benefits of Vehicle Safety Airbag Systems far outweigh the risks of the few dust particles released at the time of their deployment. Some dust is released (a type of talcum powder which allows the airbag to deploy more efficiently). This dust will quickly dissipate into the atmosphere after such deployment.

One MIGHT inhale a little bit of dust from a deployed airbag but it will likely have saved one from busting your noggin on the dashboard, getting ejected through the windshield, breaking ribs on the steering wheel or other severe injuries. Best to leave the (SRS) Safety Restraint Systems activated.
Michael Csapo – Graduate Class of 2000

2. I just had a head on collision in September this year and the truck was totaled, both air bags. It felt like a hard punch to the face. The point is I was uninjured. There were no bad effects (at least not yet) from the dust. I am very glad the bags were there, the technology works.
John Nicols

3. I called the body shop I deal with and asked about air bags. They told me that there is some smoke when they deploy and afterwards there is some fine powder like a fire extinguisher. When I asked about how much they were very vague but it sounded like it was minimal. It seems to me that any powder inhaled would probably be more annoying than hazardous. Tim Hembree

License information for police or First Responders

There has been concern that a police officer might mistake our Electrolarynx as a mace or stun gun. The idea came up that if we could put a message that was entered into the database for our driver’s license or the car registration that we used the device to talk, that would put the officer at ease when he saw the unit in our hand. The distracted driving laws in many states make it illegal to hold any electronic device while driving, even when stopped. I looked into this with my state (Washington) and there is no way it could be added, so I contacted my state Senator to ask if it could be done.  Our state did add the use of the Electrolarynx to the training for every officer so they would be aware of them and the use. You might check into your state to see if it is possible. If enough of us pursue it, we might be able to make it happen.
Ron Mattoon 2010 Seattle
Posted 02/2019

Safe Driving from Teens4Safety

Driving can be challenging for all of us especially as we get older. Here is a site that has a lot of tip to help us stay safe.

Safe Driving for Seniors

Older Adult Driving and Auto License Guide 


Mike Dreisbach has an article, about testing your ability to drive
Drinking & Driving? You, Too, Can Be Tested!

He recently wrote:
Many times we, as laryngectomees, develop other medical issues for which no known device is available. Such is the case with those “larys” who drink and drive. The only way currently available for law enforcement to test us for an impairing substance is via a blood test. As I wrote in an earlier article I have developed such a device to allow a “lary” to perform the required breath test.

This same device could possible work for those of us having to undergo
pulmonary testing. Depending on the size of your stoma opening a regular baby bottle nipple with a larger opening at the end and a catheter will allow a “lary” to provide the require “breath” of deep lung air for the intoxilyzer. Should your stoma opening be rather large and maintaining a good seal is an issue, try a calf bottle nipple. The same holds true in regards to the opening at the end BUT the tubing one will use is about 1/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Again this will allow the suspected impaired driver to “blow” into the Intoximeter ( a newer model) and provide a deep lung “breath” sample to determine impairment.