Ask a Trooper: First Fatal Second of Crash

By KBJR News 1

Ask a Trooper: First Fatal Second of Crash

May 20, 2013 Updated May 20, 2013 at 8:49 AM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) Click It or Ticket. Increased seat belt patrols will take to roads nationwide through June 2nd.

Authorities say nearly half of Minnesota's unbelted deaths are ages 16 to 29.

In the last three years, more than 850 motorists died in crashes, 42 percent of those were not buckled up.

In Minnesota, drivers and passengers in all seating positions must be buckled up or seated in a correct child restrain.

Do you know what happens in the first fatal second after a car going 55 miles per hour hits a solid object?

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers of the Minnesota State Patrol has the answer:

1. In the first 10th of a second, the front bumper and grill collapse.
2. 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.
3. During the third 10th of the second, the steering wheel starts to disintegrate and the steering column aims for the driver’s chest.
4. 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.
5. In the fifth 10th of a second, the driver is impaled on the steering column, and blood rushes into his lungs.
6. 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.
7. In the seventh 10th of a second, hinges rip loose, doors fly open and the seats break free, striking the driver from behind.
8. 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.