K-State Technology Development Institute builds 300th seat belt device for KHP

The K-State Technology Development Institute has now crafted 300 Seat Belt Convincers to help...
The K-State Technology Development Institute has now crafted 300 Seat Belt Convincers to help keep drivers safe. Kansas Highway Patrol's Trooper Ben Gardner and Bret Lanz are pictured with the troop's new Seat Belt Convincer.(Kansas State University)
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 4:11 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas State University’s Technology Development Institute constructed its 300th Seat Belt Convincer for the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Kansas State University officials said the device simulates a 5-7 mph impact and enables the participant to feel the restraint the seat belt provides during a low-speed impact. This helps to convince the participants to wear their seat belts as they can feel the force generated at a low speed and understand how much worse that would be at 65 mph.

“The Highway Patrol was fortunate to receive a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation to help promote traffic safety, and the Seat Belt Convincers are our most utilized interactive tool to accomplish this,” said Kansas Highway Patrol Capt. Candice Breshears.

K-State officials said the Kansas Highway Patrol originally contacted the Technology Development Institute (TDI) in 2002 to inquire about repairing an older Seat Belt Convincer that had been used for a number of years. They determined that redesigning the system to improve ease of operation and constructing a completely new unit would be a better investment than attempting to repair the older unit.

K-State officials indicated TDI completed the unit and delivered it to the Kansas Highway Patrol, and additional units were ordered for all Troop locations across the state. Word of the new devices quickly spread, and soon units were being manufactured for the Missouri Highway Patrol as well to help promote seat belt safety through the interactive training tool.

“As interest for the machines increased, we had business students at K-State create a website for the product and began marketing machines globally,” said Bret Lanz, TDI commercialization director. “We ship these units around the world and have sold nearly as many in the Middle East as we have here in the States. It’s exciting to continue to support the Kansas Highway Patrol, and we are excited that they will have the first unit and unit 300 here close to home.”

According to officials with K-State, the Seat Belt Convincer units are created at the TDI facilities, and many local vendors are utilized to weld, powder coat, and produce custom covers and graphics that are installed on the units prior to shipping them out. Each unit is tailored to customers’ requests for colors and graphics, often including logos from organizations that help sponsor the purchase of the units.

“Working with the TDI team at K-State on this new Convincer has been a great experience, and we are pleased to have a resource like them here in the state,” said Breshears. “We look forward to continuing the use of these devices across Kansas to help save lives.”

For more information about Seat Belt Convincers, K-State officials said to visit the product website.

K-State officials noted this project was completed in support of the K-State 105 initiative, Kansas State University’s answer to the call for a comprehensive economic growth and advancement solution for Kansas. The initiative leverages the statewide K-State Research and Extension network to deliver the full breadth of the university’s collective knowledge and solution-driven innovation to every Kansan, right where they live and work. Additionally, K-State 105 forges the connections and partnerships that create access to additional expertise within other state institutions and agencies, nonprofits and corporations — all part of an effort to build additional capacities and strengths in each of the 105 counties in the state.

K-State officials said the Technology Development Institute, a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration University Center, provides a broad range of engineering and business development services to both private industry and university researchers to advance the commercial readiness of new products or technologies.