People who wear clip-on ties have been the butt of the joke for decades, but New York State troopers say it's no laughing matter.

A photo of a state police officer receiving his COVID-19 vaccine received lots of attention this week. No, not because of its message of safety, but because of the trooper's neckwear.

The image shows the officer with his uniform undone. His shirt is partially removed to expose his arm for the shot, revealing that his tie is actually a clip-on. The picture elicited humorous responses from some, joking about the child-like fashion accessory.

We did a bit of research and found out that all New York State Troopers actually wear clip-on ties, and they do it for a very good reason. It turns out that ties are actually a terrible idea to begin with. If someone came up with neckties today, they would be laughed out of the fashion industry.

Think about it; encouraging men to take a long piece of strong fabric and tie it around their necks just sounds like an aweful idea. If the fashion statement was introduced today it would be condemned by safety groups and employees would most likely be forbidden from wearing this safety hazard.

And that's exactly why New York State Troopers opt for clip-on ties. In an altercation, an officer's tie can easily be used against them. Imagine a criminal grabbing onto the tie and pulling it during a scuffle. The officer could easily be subdued or, even worse, choked out by someone who could get a hold of that tie and yank on the knot. Getting a necktie caught in a vehicle door or a fence during a foot pursuit would also end tragically.

For the same reason, many school children are issued clip-on ties or breakaway clasp versions with their uniforms. But for some reason, the safety concern hasn't lead to the adoption of these safer versions of neckwear to the general public. Statistics show that in 2014 there were 11 deaths due to strangulation by neckties at the workplace. That's almost four times the number of people who died from shark attacks that year.

So, for those of you who run in fear when someone yells "shark!" at the beach, but have no problem sporting a half-windsor every day at work, it might be time to reevaluate your priorities.

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