Our favorite dummies crash Smithsonian

You probably don’t know their names, but you know their uniforms. Vince and Larry, two vital cogs in the world of safety testing have been immortalized in the Smithsonian Institution. The announcement was made this week by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Still don’t know who Vince and Larry are? That’s OK. Most people don’t. But throughout the mid to late 1980s and all the way up to 1998, Vince and Larry appeared on your television screens, telling you how important seat belt use is to saving your life in the event of a crash.

vince-and-larry-at-altoona-youth-day.jpgSo who are Vince and Larry? They were the dummies. The crash-test dummies we watched over and over again in television commercials. The Vince and Larry costumes were worn by actors posing as the duo, telling us through the use humor about the importance of wearing a seat belt.

“We learned a lot from Vince and Larry about the importance of buckling up,” said LaHood. “They are a part of American culture and became household names while educating the public on seat belt use. Their message still holds true today.”

The costumes, along with other auto safety items, have been donated to appear as part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Now, visitors to the Smithsonian will know the important role Vince and Larry have played in getting America to buckle up.

In trucking, FMCSA reported that overall safety belt use by commercial drivers climbed to 74% in 2009 from 65% in 2007, with seat belt use at 78% in states with primary safety belt laws versus 67% in states with weaker laws.

Clearly we have come a long way, but there is still more we can learn from Vince and Larry.

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