LAS VEGAS -- Nevada Highway Patrol says people are losing their lives nearly every day on Nevada roads. Many times, troopers say, people die because they miss one crucial step: fastening their seat belt.
Last year, the NHP saw 144 car accidents where someone died. Of those deadly crashes, 41 had someone fly through the windshield because they didn't wear their seatbelt.
Monday marked the launch of the national Click it or Ticket campaign. Nevada Highway Patrol troopers are out on the roads, searching for people not wearing their seat belts.
Behind the glass at NHP, administrator Alan Pineda often just deals with the paper side of problems on the road.
"All I see is names and numbers and speeds but it is not what it is like to actually be in an accident," Pineda said.
On Monday, he decided to experience an accident or at least what one could feel like, firsthand.
The "seat belt convincer" is NHP's latest tool to get people to buckle up. People get in, fasten their seat belt and then feel the impact of a crash at just five mph.
"I felt like I was being thrown forward and if I didn't have that seat belt on, I would have smashed into the front." Pineda said.
Highway patrol is targeting two groups: young, inexperienced drivers and men. Troopers say men are more likely to feel protected in their large trucks and SUVs.
"Those actually have a higher rollover rate than any other vehicle on the roadway, which increases the importance of having your seat belt on," Trooper Jeremie Elliott said.
Troopers say in a rollover crash, nine times out of 10, people will fly out, if they're not wearing a seat belt.
"Centripetal force takes over and no amount of strength is going to hold you in there," Trooper Elliott said.
Getting the feel of an accident, even a minor one, has changed the way Pineda looks at how much impact could hurt or even kill, without buckling up.
"It also baffles me as to why someone would not wear their seat belt. It is obvious. It is there to protect you," Pineda said.
He, along with troopers, are hoping more people will get the message that wearing a seat belt can save your life.
NHP says a seat belt citation can run up to $90. The Click it or Ticket campaign runs until June 15.
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