Even a dummy should wear seat belts

This week, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) tried to "make it real" in demonstrating the dangers of not wearing a seat belt, texting and DUI to students in a Macon school. The GOHS use a real pick-up truck, equipped with dummies, to show what happens in a rollover car accident.

During the simulation, the dummies in the pick-up truck are not wearing their seat belts, and they are ejected from the vehicle during the rollover crash. A frequent cause of death in car accidents is the ejection of the occupants from the vehicle. 

Upon ejection, a vehicle occupant typically strikes the ground or other objects at highway speeds. Even if they survive the ejection, they can receive additional severe or fatal injuries if they fall in the roadway and are struck by other vehicles.

The director of GOHS commented that students are frequently found not complying with seat belt laws and texting while driving. Texting is one of the most distracting activities to engage in while driving because of the concentration needed, which takes the driver's mind away from paying attention to what is happening on the road.

Studies have shown that texting is akin to driving with your eyes closed for more than the length of a football field and its effect on degrading driving ability is similar to driving while intoxicated.

It is hoped that by showing students what happens during a car accident where a driver is drunk or distracted by texting, and fails to wear their seat belts, they will change their behavior and avoid both dangerous habits.

Source: WMGT.com, "Students Watch Aftermath of Rollover Accident," Elaine Rackley, September 9, 2013

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