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Need to be convinced to wear a seat belt?

June 20, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

The “Seat Belt Convincer” ride demonstrates dangerous force for crashes as slow as 5-7 mph

The “Seat Belt Convincer”… Sounds like an amusement park ride. And in  a way, it is.  But the effect of this ride is educational – and not at all amusing.  This educational tool allows riders to experience forces of up to five times their body weight. Those are forces similar to that of a 5-7 mph crash.

This is important because nearly every week in courtrooms across the country, defense lawyers hold up photos of cars that were involved in low-impact, low vehicle damage car accidents. These lawyers argue that the plaintiff (the person bringing the lawsuit) cannot be injured in such a minor crash.

And that simply isn’t true.

The “Seat Belt Convincer” has a purpose – to convince people that low-impact car accidents, especially crashes without seat belts, can do a whole lot of damage to the occupant, even if they don’t do a lot of damage to the car.

If you watch the video, you can see the forceful impact on the person inside the Seat Belt Convincer.

And as the law enforcement officer in the video says:

“People don’t even go (5-7 mph in a parking lot) and a lot of people think they can catch themselves if they’re in a (low-speed) crash. This  more or less shows that you cannot protect yourself even at 5-7 miles per hour – let alone 30, 35, 60, 65 miles an hour.”

Here’s how the Seat Belt Convincer works:

The passenger enters the carriage at the top of the slide and buckles into the seat. Once the rider is properly fastened in the seat belt and its fitment is double-checked, the operator rotates the lever from the “return” position to the “convince” position. The secured rider slides down the track and collides with the front bumpers, safely experiencing a simulated crash.

As the officer says, “No one expects it to hurt at all, or to feel it.”

“And they all do.”

Think about this next time you hop into the car for a quick ride to the store and consider skipping your seat belt. Or the next time you’re on jury duty and an insurance defense lawyer holds up a picture of a bumper and says no one could have been injured in such a low-speed wreck.

The science is clear: The’re wrong.

Related information:

“Embrace life” seatbelt video saves lives

Preventing child seatbelt entanglement

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