The rollover simulator was unveiled in March and will be used at schools and during community events to illustrate the impact a rollover crash can have on a person who is not wearing a safety device.
“To truly make a difference in increasing seat belt use, we felt it necessary to expand the educational portion of our community outreach as it applies to safety,” said Sheriff Steve Pelton.
The simulator, which is the modified cab of a pickup truck, is being constructed on a gimbal and designed to spin side over side to mimic a traffic rollover.
The entire project, start to finish, has being orchestrated by area high school students at Four Rivers Career Center. More than 200 students have played a hands-on role in creating the simulator, covering every aspect of automotive repair, including mechanics, auto body fabrication and welding.
Local businesses also contributed to the endeavor, including Jim Brinker Recycling, Washington; Region Welding, Union; and Straatmann Toyota, Washington.
The project was funded by a $4,900 Missouri Department of Transportation grant.
“This piece of equipment is mobile and has the capability to demonstrate to citizens the dangers of being in a rollover crash without wearing a seat belt,” Pelton explained.
In one scenario, dummies inside are seatbelted and are held somewhat in place as they should be. In a second scenario, the dummies are unrestrained and are tossed around the cab so violently, they sometimes are ejected from the cab completely.
According to Pelton, the Missouri State Highway Patrol has the only other rollover simulator in the state.
Students Work Together
Four Rivers Career Center Administrator Andy Robinson said Rob York was the lead instructor who worked with students in the disciplines of building trades, automotive technology, collision repair, welding, machine tool, information technology and graphics.
“This was a great community project to do,” Robinson said. “Students were able to use their specific program talents in building a display for the communities.
“They were presented a problem-based project of designing and engineering a safe rollover simulator,” he said.
Other program instructors advised students as the project was being built.
“The students worked together as they used their backgrounds in science, math and technology to make a functioning display that shows the effects of not wearing a seat belt during a rollover,” Robinson added.
From 2013-15, Franklin County was fourth in the state with 35 fatalities in crashes involving unrestrained occupants.
The county ranked eighth in the state in the total number of crashes involving unrestrained occupants with 561.
During that time period, Franklin County ranked sixth in disabling crashes where occupants were not using seat belts with 86.
There was a total of 7,153 crashes in Franklin County from 2013-2015. That number was higher than in previous years and traffic deaths are usually in the low 20s.
We would like to thank Missourian for reprint permission.