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Court brings rollover simulator for teen drivers

Posted: January 23, 2013 - 1:06am

Columbia County Juvenile Court personnel are hoping to show teen drivers the importance of wearing seatbelts.

The public is invited to see a vehicle rollover simulator and demonstration of the violence of a rollover wreck from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The demonstration will be held in the parking lot next to the Columbia County Justice Center and is aimed at “young drivers, so they can see what happens in a rollover situation,” said Deborah Hatcher, the event’s organizer, who serves as Juvenile Court Traffic coordinator and probation and intake officer.

The simulator, provided by the University of Georgia’s Georgia Traffic Injury Prevention Center, shows what happens to a test dummy not wearing a seatbelt during a rollover crash.

Juvenile Court Judge Doug Flanagan hopes the graphic demonstration will encourage teen drivers to buckle up.

“To talk about it is one thing, but for them to see it, I think it’s worthwhile,” Flanagan said. “If I can keep one of these kids from getting thrown out and killed, I’m a happy man.”

The simulator is essentially a clear car frame with an unbuckled dummy inside. The crash demonstrates the violence associated with a rollover and what happens to unbuckled occupants as the vehicle rolls.

The simulator has been brought in occasionally for teens sentenced through the court’s Traffic Court. The simulator is being paid for with a grant.

The event is open to the public.

“We’re hoping to convince some of these young people who are speeders and not wearing seatbelts,” Hatcher said.

There is no formal presentation, so drop-ins are welcome to view the demonstration.

IF YOU GO

What: Columbia County Juvenile Court rollover simulator

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lot beside the Columbia County Justice Center in Evans

Admission: Free

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