More than 300 Madison Southern High School students witnessed what could happen to a person involved in a rollover car accident.
A rollover simulator is designed to replicate the rollover accident of a car traveling 20 mph, explained DeShaun Bailey and John Smoot of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, which provided the simulator.
Two adult dummies and two child-size dummies were belted into the simulator to show how they remained in place, even after several rolls.
Smoot unbuckled the dummies and replayed the scenario. Students watched as the bodies were jostled around inside of the vehicle. The dummies eventually were ejected out of the windows and landed at their feet.
Bailey thanked the students for not laughing.
“This is no laughing matter,” he said. “Had this been a real accident, these would be dead people.”
The rollover simulator is part of series of equipment the office uses to promote safety, Smoot said. They also use a 2D (distracted driver) simulator and 3D drunk goggles that simulate intoxication at a 2.0 blood alcohol level (almost twice the .08 legal limit). Students must maneuver a “souped up” golf cart through orange cones while wearing the drunk goggles. These presentations are made each year at hundreds of schools all over Kentucky, he said.
The same rollover simulator was parked at Berea Community School Tuesday.
“Last year, 721 people were killed on Kentucky’s road ways,” Bailey told the students. “This year it’s 500 as of January. This is too many people.”
Bailey implored the students to think about that number of deaths as if they all died at once from a disease.
“This would be an epidemic, there would be congressional hearings about it,” he said. “But, our office has a tally of how many people pass away on the road ways and every single one of them is a big deal to us.”
In reality, those deaths occur sporadically so “they don’t seem like a big deal anymore,” he said.
Kentucky is a state with a primary seatbelt law and a $25 fine for each person not wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle. Proper seat belt use (with the bottom strap over the lap and not the stomach), coupled with modern car impact technology and airbags, give students a better chance at survival, Bailey said.
The rollover simulator only shows a mild accident, he said, so “just holding on without a seatbelt would not work.”
“I’ve tried it,” Smoot said.
Smoot talked about distracted driving and mentioned an AT&T commercial that features a man from Louisville who sustained brain damage from a car accident during which his girlfriend was texting while driving. She lost control of the car and hit a tree, he said. “Now he can’t feed himself, dress himself or walk anymore — that quick.”
He asked students to think about what they would do if a friend drove up with a whiskey bottle in between their legs.
“Hopefully you wouldn’t get in the car with them,” he said.
But then Smoot asked them to think about what they would do if the same friend pulled up, but was texting instead. “You wouldn’t think twice about getting in the car,” he said.
Statistics prove distracted driving is four times more deadly than drunk driving, a statistic he found hard to believe, at first, he said.
“But here’s the thing, the drunk guy is trying to get home, he’s concentrating. The person texting is not looking at the road for five to seven seconds at a time. At 60 mph you can travel 100 yards in three seconds,” he explained. “So you’re going at least a couple hundred yards without even looking at the road.”
And to drive the point home, Smoot talked about a co-worker’s daughter who spent three weeks in a coma from a car accident. The insurance company discovered she had been texting at the time of the accident and would not pay “probably about a million dollars” in hospital expenses, he said.
“Out of all the people I’ve seen die from texting and driving, not one of the (text) messages was important.” Smoot said.
The rollover simulator is part of the school’s Re-Think Your Ride program, in collaboration with Eastern Kentucky University’s nursing program and the Madison County Health Department, said Sean Quinlan, Youth Service Center director at MSHS.
The simulations are part of a month-long effort to encourage seatbelt usage, he said.
Students from EKU’s nursing program performed an “incognito” survey of students wearing seat belts as they exited the parking lot in late September. They found 86 percent of MSHS students were wearing them, Quinlan said.
In addition to the simulators, the school has purchased banners reminding students to wear seat belts and there are morning announcements about driving statistics.
All students taking the driving course watched a presentation by a Berea parent who did not buckle her 18-month-old son because they were “just driving down the road,” Quinlan said.
A few miles from home, she got into a rollover accident and her son ended up face-first in a ditch. Now 19-years-old and a student at MSHS, her son was with her during the presentations, but he requires around-the-clock care.
A followup seatbelt survey will be performed in the next few weeks to determine the impact of the month-long intervention, Quinlan said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com
or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.
Southern students witness rollover simulator
- Local News
May 30 last school day for students
After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.
Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza
Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.
Ward honored for service; tech center named after him
Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.
Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts
A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.
Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.
Police apprehend burglary suspect
An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.
Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’
Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.
Suicide attempt fatal for inmate
A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training
A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.
EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously
Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.
Sixth person charged in motel meth bust
A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.
- More Local News Headlines
- May 30 last school day for students