FHS students experience Seatbelt Convincer

Farragut High School driver’s education and criminal justice students discovered what an impact at five to seven miles per hour would feel like.

About 150 students participated in Seatbelt Convincer, a simulator, when The University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research brought the Convincer to the school on Tuesday, March 8.

“That hurt,” Nayeli Carreno, an FHS sophomore, said after getting out of the simulator. What did she learn? “Wear your seatbelt,” she said.

“I thought it was pretty realistic,” Alex Williams, a sophomore, said.

“It got my attention. That’s for sure,” Carter Phillips, a senior, said.

Karsyn Feaster, a sophomore, said the impact felt terrible.

“It makes me always want to wear my seatbelt,” she said. “I didn’t know it would be that hard at such a slow pace.”

“I will definitely wear a seatbelt,” Jada Carson, sophomore, said.

“Oh, my goodness, that didn’t feel good,” Clay Jolley, a senior, said.

“It’s a good jolt,” Brianna Martinson, a sophomore, said.

The Convincer is a program that helps demonstrate the necessity of always wearing a seatbelt, Rob Taylor, a representative of UT Center for Tran-sportation Research, said.

“This simulates a 5- to 7-mile-per-hour speed crash,” Taylor said. “It’s something like you would get in a parking lot. It’s pretty fun to watch and kind of fun to ride.

“We’ve been trying to demonstrate it to high school driver’s education classes and beginning drivers. We take it around to high schools.”

Tammy Enix, research assistant with UT Center for Trans-portation Research, said the simulator was funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to emphasize the need to wear a seatbelt at night.

“Our department was asked to increase nighttime seatbelt use,” Enix said. “In Tennessee, daytime use is at about 86 percent, but nighttime use is about 56 percent. Our goal is to bring the simulator to the area high schools.

“We’re focusing on five counties in East Tennessee [Knox, Blount, Loudon, Roane and Se-vier counties]. We chose those counties because the usage varied.”

The simulator was sponsored by Southeastern Transportation Center and Gov. Bill Haslam’s Highway Safety Office as part of the Buckle Up Tennessee program, he said.

“We’re getting students to understand the importance of wearing seatbelts,” David Moore, FHS head softball coach and driver’s education instructor, said. “They will realized what will happen in such a collision — anything we can do to encourage safety.”

The center contacted the school supervisor about the program then the center was asked to bring the simulator to the school, he said.

“It was scheduled for earlier, but we had snow days,” Moore said. “If [the program] is offered again, we will have it again. We hope it will impact the students so they will wear their seatbelt.”

Farragut High students who participated in the simulator received a T-shirt or a Frisbee.