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Students shown that seatbelts work

Students at F. G.

Students at F. G. Miller High School may be a little more likely to fasten their seat belts, after watching last Thursday’s demonstrations of the RCMP rollover simulator, and the accompanying video presentation on saving lives and preventing injuries through the use of seat belts.

The big difference between belted in and flying around the passenger compartment of a truck body spinning on its axis like a clothes dryer drum was demonstrated by Cst. Adam Bullock as he opened the door of the simulator at the end of the spin cycle. Belted in, the two mannequins appeared to be in relatively good shape, but when the procedure was repeated without seat belts, one of the floppy ‘rollover victims’ landed on the ground in a crumpled heap when he opened the door, while the second passenger had to be extricated from the back seat.

“Accidents,” Bullock told the students, “happen without apparent cause and are unpreventable. What we often call accidents are really collisions, which are mostly due to human error and can usually be prevented.”

Whether the collision is of the frontal, side, rear-end or rollover variety, passengers who remain in the engineered life space formed by the vehicle’s body frame “should have enough room for survival, if you use your seatbelt,” Bullock said. He noted that vehicles are “engineered to crush. The engine goes down and the steering column snaps off,” leaving the passenger compartment intact. “And, if you’re belted in, it will help you keep control of the vehicle.”

The “three ways to die,” Bullock said, are by being ejected from the vehicle, going through the windshield and by “becoming the projectile,” which is often the case for an unbelted back seat passenger.

There are numerous myths about seatbelts, Bullock said. “People think, ‘I’ll only hurt myself,’ but in fact, you’re more likely to hurt others, if you lose control. They think, ‘I’ll be trapped if the vehicle catches fire or goes underwater,’ but without a seatbelt, you are five times more likely to be knocked unconscious. If you’re conscious, you can undo your seatbelt. And they think it’s better to be thrown clear, but you’re five times more likely to be killed without a seatbelt.” He noted that an air bag is effective in frontal collisions, but does not help in side, rear or rollover collisions.

“If you don’t care about yourself, others do. Wear it for your family,” Bullock concluded.