Demonstration shows dangers of driving unbuckled


By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY — Officers and deputies from four different jurisdictions gathered at Kyle Park in Tipp City on Tuesday, joining members of the Tipp City Fire Department and the Miami Valley Safe Communities Coalition for a powerful demonstration of the danger in not wearing seatbelts.

“The national Click-It or Ticket campaign starts this month, so we are out here today just to raise awareness,” Miami Valley Safe Communities Coalition Coordinator Vicky Knisley-Henry said. “We’ve been doing a simulation of what happens if you’re not wearing your seat belt in a crash. We dropped melons from this ladder truck to simulate a crash at 25 mph, and one at 40 mph.”

Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies, park rangers and officers from both the Troy and Tipp City Police departments attended the demonstration, which also served as a kick-off for the national Click-it or Ticket campaign.

“Also, we wanted to highlight our annual seatbelt challenge,” Knisley-Henry said. “We go out to all of the high schools in Miami County and do a seatbelt check; the high school with the highest percentage of seatbelt usage wins our traveling plaque and banner.”

The winner of this year’s seatbelt challenge was Bethel High School. “With 96.4%, Bethel High School took the top spot this year,” Knisley-Henry said. “Currently, Miami County has a seatbelt usage rate of 91.3%; as a coalition, our goal is to increase that to 94%.”

“Their school and many other schools are doing a great job at exceeding our goal of 94%,” she said. “Wearing a seatbelt is the single most effective way to prevent injuries when you’re in a crash. Just wearing a seatbelt can reduce your chances of a fatal injury by more than 50%, and it literally takes two seconds.”

“It’s inspiring because we’re seeing a higher seatbelt usage rate in the high schools than we are county-wide,” she said. “That’s reassuring; teen drivers are being safe, and doing what they need to do.”

The Tipp City Fire Department brought a ladder truck for the demonstration; Lumpkins Towing and Tempo Wood Products also helped to sponsor the demonstration.

“Tipp City Fire & Emergency Services responds to hundreds of motor vehicle crashes a year,” Tipp City Fire Chief Cameron Haller said. “The crashes involving occupants using their seat belts properly drastically reduce the severity of the injuries.”

“All occupants should use seat belts,” he said. “Any occupant can be ejected or partially ejected from the vehicle. Ejection of a person from a vehicle raises the severity of injury and likelihood of death dramatically. We implore people to wear their seat belts properly; the life you save will be your own.”

Sheriff Dave Duchak said that Miami County law enforcement agencies want to remind all motorists that spring is here, and with it, more motorists are on the highways, along with motorcycles. Duchak asks that all motorists take extra precautions, keep their eyes on the road, avoid distracted driving, and be on the lookout for motorcycles.

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