MATTHEWS, MO (KFVS) - There is a significant difference between wearing a seat belt and being unrestrained in a rollover crash.
To demonstrate that, Troop E of the Missouri State Highway Patrol has created a roll-over simulator that is able to quickly spin a cab of a pickup truck that is mounted on a rotisserie in circles with the use of a hydraulic system.
The public information officer with Troop E of MSHP, Sgt. Clark Parrott, said that he uses the learning tool about three times a month, and every group he presents to sees it run twice.
Once with the adult and child size dummies strapped in their car seats, and once without.
"The rollover simulator is popular because it provides immediate feedback," Sgt. Parrott said. "If the seat belts are on the dummies Cal and Duke they will not come out. If you do not have your seatbelt on, you're either bouncing around inside (the cab), or your coming out of it."
So far in 2018, 65 people have already died on Missouri roadways and about two-thirds of the fatalities were not wearing safety belts.
"So somewhere between 40 to 42 people have been unrestrained while in a car this year and have died because of it," Parrott said.
The most common type of traffic crash that troopers respond are rollovers, and on Friday about 60 employees at the Monsanto facility in Matthews, Missouri got to see their simulator in action.
"A lot of businesses, manufacturing agencies in southeast Missouri understand that their employees are a valuable asset," Parrott said. "The top three factors that are cause traffic crashes are speed, distracted driving, and impaired driving, so I try to touch on everyone of those things with Monsanto and everywhere I go."
Another recommendation that Parrott offered was to keep backpacks, electronic devices, and other belongings in a trunk of a vehicle because they can also cause further injury during a rollover.
"Think about a clothes dryer and throw a couple of tennis balls in it," Parrott said. "That thumpty-thump is everything that is unrestrained in your vehicle, bouncing around inside."
School, businesses or other organizations that are interested in having the rollover simulator demonstrated at their location can contact the Troop E headquarters at 573-840-9500.