Va. agencies demonstrate ways to make roads safer (Video)

WASHINGTON — With a goal of making sure more people get where they are going in Northern Virginia safely, police, transit agencies and bicycle and pedestrian advocates gathered Friday at Reston Town Center to share ideas and demonstrate the importance of seat belt use and the danger of distracted or impaired driving.

Officer Joe Moore with the Fairfax County Police Department’s Traffic Division organized the event to improve people’s commutes.

“I grew up in Fairfax County, and when I was a kid it was all single family homes, neighborhoods. Now we have high rises, we’re putting a lot of people in a small amount of space,” he says.

It means there are many more people riding bikes or walking around the county.

“They’re challenges that, I think in Fairfax County we haven’t seen a lot of,” he says.

Police officers from places such as Loudoun and Prince William counties also shared ideas about improving safety on the road, such as the best ways of helping parents make sure car seats are properly installed.

Transit agencies such as Metro and Fairfax Connector reached out to the community for ideas for the future, with the second phase of the Silver Line scheduled to open as early as 2018.

Also, police demonstrated several ways they convince people to stay safer on the roads.

Fairfax County police have a machine called a “seat belt convincer” that simulates a crash at just 5 mph.

It seems like a mini roller coaster pulling a driver up about 5 feet off the ground before slamming forward with a surprisingly strong jolt as an imitation air bag pops out.

Watch WTOP’s Max Smith test out the “seat belt convincer.”

Virginia State Police use an electric golf cart as a distracted driving simulator. The driver either puts on goggles that simulate being drunk, or attempts to text while driving or change the radio station while navigating a small course of cones.

Smith’s attempt at both ended with a number of cones flattened.

Watch video of Smith doing the impaired driving simulator:

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