With the help of a $32,500 grant, the Nebraska State Patrol will continue efforts to reduce the potential for deadly accidents. State Patrol spokesperson Deb Collins says the money will be used to target young drivers on the importance of buckling up each and every time they get in a car or behind the wheel.
“The Nebraska State Patrol is always working to reduce vehicle crashes and fatalities by enforcing reducing crash causing behaviors such as speeding, following too closely, impaired and distracted driving and seat belt usage. We believe a key component to enforcement is also education and this grant we have received from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety will allow our community service officers to get out into the schools and the communities and provide that at-risk age group, which is 15 to 20 year olds with a hands on interactive message on the importance of seat belts.”
Collins says the educational programs are more than just a trooper lecturing young drivers on these issues. They get a much better response if young drivers can see first hand what happens to a driver if they are involved in a roll-over accident while not wearing a seatbelt.
“Our community service officers will be taking the roll-over simulator, a devise that demonstrates very visually what happens in a roll-over crash in which a vehicle is traveling just 30-miles an hour. You’ll get to see dummies that are not buckled in come flying out of this simulator and when they are buckled in staying where they should stay.”
Collins says they also have a simulator called the Seat Belt Convincers where young drivers can actually experience a low impact accident with and without seatbelt use.
“We also have the seatbelt convincer which is an interactive took that allows the participant to experience a low impact crash and how a seat belt works. You actually sit in the convincer, you slide down, and you experience that low impact crash and see how that seat belt keeps you in place.”
Collins says these simulators do leave an impression on young drivers who see and experience them.
“We have had people who have contacted us and tell us “hey, I saw this demonstration at school. I buckled myself in when I left the school and I got on a gravel road and I got in a roll-over and I’m here today because I did that. So, it definitely makes an impact.”
Collins says because of this funding, more young drivers will be able to experience these simulators. She says anyone interested in a presentation can contact them.
“We have six community service officers across the state in each troop area and they are contacted all the time by individual groups, bigger organizations, by people having some type of activity taking place and they go out and speak to schools, the state fair, football games, anybody interested in getting this message out just needs to contact their nearest troop area office and see about lining up one of these demonstrations.”
The contact areas are:
Troop A- Omaha, Trooper Keith Bell 402-331-3333
Troop B- Norfolk, Trooper Bill Price 402-370-3456
Troop C- Grand Island, Lt. Jeff Pelowski 308-385-6000
Troop D- North Platte, Lt. Greg Vandenberg 308-535-8047
Troop E- Scottsbluff, Trooper Chuck Elley 308-632-1211
Headquarters Troop – Lincoln, Trooper Randy Bybee 402-471-4545.