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A graphic object lesson for Drivers Ed. Students


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Driver education students at Havre High School got a first-hand look Friday at what happens when people don't wear seat belts.

A car that was involved in a serious rollover crash in 2007 was on display in Havre last week. Students could see where the passenger was sitting. That part of the car was relat ively unscathed by the crash, but the person — who was not wearing a seat belt — was ejected from the vehicle and died.

Another person in the car — who wore a seat belt — "just walked away," said Samantha Hutchins, project coordinator for Hill County Buckle Up Montana, which helped bring the Respect the Cage project to Havre.

Joining the high schoolers at the scene were Debbie Cottonware, an adjunct faculty member at Montana State University-Northern, and her students who will become driver education teachers.

"I think the students were really interested," H u t c h i n s said, adding that some of them sat in t h e s e a t wh e r e t h e ejected passenger had been.

Students also observed a Rollover Simulator. Two dummies came with the machine, and students could decide if either or both of the dummies would be wearing seat belts during a simulated crash.

Students were not surprised to learn that it was far safer for the dummies when the they were strapped in.

However, both of the dummies were unsafe when just one of them wore a seat belt because the human body can be a dangerous projectile in an accident, Hutchins said.

Getting hit by a human body loose in a car during an accident, she said, can be the equivalent of being hit with 1,400 pounds.

"It shows that you are not safe unless everyone is wearing a seat belt," she said.

The display is set up around the state at different dates, and it will return to Havre during Festival Days, Hutchins said.


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