“Headbanging is more fun than going through a windshield!” Watch Iron Maiden star in the bizarre seatbelt safety advert from 1991 that almost got them a meeting with the President Of The United States

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson sat in a convertible and looking at the camera, with text reading "Buckle your safety belt."
(Image credit: Ad Council/US Department Of Transportation)

"Belt up: don't be a dummy." Those were the immortal words shared by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson at the end of a 30-second TV ad that would serve as one of the most unlikely heavy metal collaborations of the 90s. The clip, released in 1991, was the latest in a series of public service announcements produced by the US Department Of Transportation, designed to make drivers aware of the importance of always wearing a seatbelt.

Like the other ads before it, the video stars Vince and Larry, two well-meaning but decidedly caution-averse 'Crash Test Dummies' that served as the dim-witted mascots of the DOT's campaign. This time, Vince and Larry are seen attending an Iron Maiden concert, getting stuck in as the band rip through the title track from 1990 album No Prayer For The Dying

"This headbanging is more fun than going through a windshield!" one of the Dummies savvily notes as the twosome watch on from the crowd, with legendary Iron Maiden mascot Eddie soon making an appearance on stage.

As the concert apparently draws to a close, Bruce Dickinson suddenly addresses the camera: "Good night from Iron Maiden - drive home safe!" he commands. "Remember to strap yourselves in with your safety belts - you don't want to end up like Eddie!" Wise words, to be fair. "Belt up: don't be a dummy" Dickinson adds from his car as an adoring crowd, Dummies included, look on. 

The DOT's Vince and Larry ads were spearheaded by Sam Skinner, who was serving as President George Bush's Chief Of Staff at the time. Skinner was so invested in raising awareness of seatbelt safety in cars that he offered to invite Bruce Dickinson to dinner at the White House itself and a potential meeting with Bush, should Maiden's advert prove successful. As far as we're aware, that meeting never happened, so, much like Metallica's bizarre appearance with John Cleese a few years later, Iron Maiden's team-up with the Crash Test Dummies will instead forever reside as one of those strange curios that can only come from the magical world of heavy metal. 

Watch the advert for yourself below. And needless to say: buckle up when you're in a car.

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.