If you don’t think a five to 10-mile per hour car collision is enough to shake a person up, you might want to think again.
In an effort to create that kind of a car crash and encourage motorists to wear seat belts, the East Ridge Police Department borrowed a simulator called “The Convincer” from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Thursday, and gave anyone who would sign a waiver the chance to taste it.
“It is seriously intense,” said Andrea Dillard, the city’s supervisor over Animal Services who happened to pass by the parking lot of the city’s Community Center on Tombras Avenue to see what was going on. “I wouldn’t want to be going 50 miles per hour. The impact was impressive.”
Assistant Chief Stan Allen said the device _ essentially a car seat with a seat belt strapped to a 10-foot long inclined sled with a hard rubber bumper at the end _ is a way to make people aware of how beneficial being restrained by a seat belt in a car during even a low speed crash can be.
“In a crash you’re going to hit something, the steering wheel, the dash or the seat belt,” Assistant Chief Allen said. “The seat belt is the best option. I think (The Convincer) is a great tool.”
Officials said the intention was to take the device to East Ridge High School the week before prom season to illustrate the importance of being restrained. However, there was a conflict with year-end testing. Officials said the city would like for The Convincer to make a return visit to our city later this spring, sometime before driving-age students go on summer break. There are also plans for the ERPD to conduct a mock crash at the high school on May 6 to further illustrate the importance of not making bad decisions behind the wheel of a car.
“From the citations we write, we know that not everyone in East Ridge is wearing a seat belt,” Assistant Chief Allen said.
This reporter took three turns on “The Convincer.” I was told I couldn’t wear my glasses during the simulation because they might fly off during impact. I discounted that idea thinking the force wouldn’t be nearly enough to separate me from my spectacles. One head snap later, I was glad my glasses weren’t on my face.
Law enforcement officials are in the middle of a safety campaign. April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, officials said.