I find what is going on currently to be incongruous with the seat belt opposition.
First Incongruity—Although your Dad may have felt that seat belts were useless many people who opposed the seat belt laws actually thought that seat belts were beneficial. It wasn't the seat belt itself that was the main issue, it was that the national government rather than the state or local government was the source of the legislation. There were many who desired state laws requiring seat belts who were upset that the national government was getting involved.
Second Incongruity—The Trump administration is wielding the power of the national government in a manner which would have been anathema to the GOP at the time of the seat belt opposition with regards to most domestic issues. (The GOP was at that time more inclined to support a strong national push in matters pertaining to the military.)
Trump's administration is not behaving in many matters in a federalist-small-government manner although they have occasionally stepped back from their first reaction and taken a less centralized approach.
There have, however, almost always been among the GOP voters (in the last 60 years) a contingency of voters who wanted both a weak national government and a weak local government. That approach often leads to neglect and rust.