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A graphic reminder for summer drivers

The number of people who have died in motor vehicle crashes in Minnesota has topped 100 this year.

At this rate, the Department of Public Safety projects that there will be around 400 killed by the end of year.

That’s why safety officials are urging drivers to buckle up as part of a statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign this week, which leads into the historically deadly summer driving season.

Statistics are helpful in getting the message across about driving more safely. But a blunt, more chilling approach can also be effective. One article that’s been making the rounds over the years describes what happens in the first second of a fatal crash. Trooper Jesse Grabow, responding to a reader’s question in his “Ask the Trooper” column, found an old copy of the article. Although Grabow couldn’t confirm how accurate the description is and the author of the piece is unknown, it conveys a powerful message. Grabow described the moral of the story as this: “You may choose to break the law and not buckle up, but you can’t break the laws of physics.”

With the rush of Memorial Day weekend traffic approaching, we believe the article is worth sharing. Here it is: (Warning: The content is graphic.)

  1. Do you know what happens in the first fatal second after a car going 55 miles per hour hits a solid object?
  2. In the first 10th of a second, the front bumper and grill collapse.
  3. The second 10th finds the hood crumbling, rising and striking the windshield as the spinning rear wheels lift from the ground. Simultaneously, fenders begin wrapping themselves around the solid object. Although the car’s frame has been halted, the rest of the car is still going 55 miles per hour. Instinct causes the driver to stiffen his legs against the crash, and they snap at the knee joint.
  4. During the third 10th of the second, the steering wheel starts to disintegrate and the steering column aims for the driver’s chest.
  5. The fourth 10th of the second finds two feet of the car’s front end wrecked, while the rear end still moves at 35 miles per hour. The driver’s body is still traveling at 55 miles per hour.
  6. In the fifth 10th of a second, the driver is impaled on the steering column, and blood rushes into his lungs.
  7. The sixth 10th of a second, the impact has built up to the point that the driver’s feet are ripped out of tightly laced shoes. The brake pedal breaks off. The car frame buckles in the middle. The driver’s head smashes into the windshield as the rear wheels, still spinning, fall back to the earth.
  8. In the seventh 10th of a second, hinges rip loose, doors fly open and the seats break free, striking the driver from behind.
  9.  The seat striking the driver does not bother him because he is already dead. The last three 10ths of a second mean nothing to the driver. — Alexandria Echo Press