The white, much-decaled pick-up truck rolled three times. Then a body flew out the driver’s side window and was squashed beneath the vehicle.
It was another casualty incurred by failure to buckle up.
Fortunately, the incident was a simulation involving a dummy, but it was nevertheless a graphic example of what can happen when drivers and passengers don’t wear seatbelts.
The new rollover simulator is an initiative of the Southwest Alberta Road Safety Society, with support from Safety City, Ag for Life and Lethbridge Exhibition Park.
Officially unveiled and demonstrated Sept. 12, the simulator will be on the road and at Lethbridge Exhibition events, targeting children in grades 6 to 12.
“In southwestern Alberta, on average there’s 31 people killed in preventable motor vehicle collisions annually. And there are 961 people injured seriously,” said Kevin Brandvold, regional traffic safety consultant for the Alberta traffic safety office.
“Twenty-five percent to 30 percent or greater of those injuries and fatalities could be prevented simply by properly wearing a seatbelt. It’s such a simple thing. It takes two seconds and it will save your life.”
Brandvold said statistics show there are more motor vehicle fatalities in rural Alberta compared to urban areas, primarily because of higher speeds. Gravel, washboard, potholes and wildlife create additional hazards.
David Sprague, chief executive officer of Ag for Life, said the simulator will likely make an impression on those who see it in action.
“This rollover simulator that we’re launching today is really the perfect model for us to help show children and young adults in particular what can happen when you don’t drive as safely as you should and when you’re not belted in.
“I think this is very impactful. I think it’s behaviour changing.”
Alberta has three other simulators, all used by provincial government agencies. This one is smaller and more portable. Rural schools and events in southwestern Alberta will get priority in its use.