Montana Highway Patrol Promotes Seat Belt Safety

In partnership with the Montana Highway Patrol the Richland County Injury Prevention Team brought the “Seat Belt Convincer” to the Fairview Festival this past weekend to bring awareness and educate on seat belt usage. The event was part of the Partnership for Promise activities for youth. The “Seat Belt Convincer” gave the opportunity for individuals to feel what it is like to crash at a low speed. Trooper Nyle Obergfell spoke with adults and youth about the importance of wearing seat belts and proper placement of the seat belt.

There were brochures provided by the Montanan Department of Transportation available for all ages which provided the following information:

If you are in a crash, a seat belt will increase your chances of survival by at least 50%. When a vehicle suddenly stops, your body continues moving forward at the original rate of speed. In a collision at only 30-mph, an unbelted adult of 160 lbs. will strike an object with a force equivalent to 2.4 tons. A child weighing 60 pound traveling in the rear seat would exert a force of approximately 1,800 lb. into the front seat in a head on crash at 30-mph. The impact of a crash at 30-mph is like falling from a 3rd story window.

Most fatal crashes in Montana involve only one vehicle and a rollover. These are the crashes most likely to result in ejection. If you are unbuckled you will have impact with the interior of the vehicle or other passengers. Could be thrown through the windshield, have impact with the ground or another object and possible be crushed by the vehicle. If you are only partially ejected, you sustain injuries upon impact with both the vehicle and other surfaces as it continues to travel. Ejected passengers are not likely to survive. You are 4-times more likely to receive fatal injuries compared to occupants who remain inside their vehicle in a crash.

Unbelted passengers pose an enormous threat to belted passengers. The chance of injury to a belted person increases 90% if there is an unbelted occupant in the vehicle at the time of a crash. A crash can happen to anyone at any time. With the increase in traffic in our area even low speed crashes can be fatal. Please be a role model and help ensure the safety of everyone in your vehicle.

For more information on how to stay safe contact Mary Sundheim, Richland County Injury Prevention Specialist at the Richland County Health Department 406-433-2207.


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