Don Robertson remembers the night he towed Jessica Bacon's car from the scene of the head on collision that nearly killed her.
"As we pulled up to the scene, the vehicle was right up against the guardrail and the other vehicle was down the road a ways, it was an awful, awful sight," Robertson says.
Since then, Robertson’s Towing Company has been using the vehicle as part of a statewide program promoting the use of seatbelts. The company was honored for its program Thursday with a letter of appreciation from Gov. Blagojevich. Department of Transportation officials say the smashed car is an extremely effective learning tool.
"If you don't have something like this there, people pick up a pencil and leave, but when they see this vehicle, they want to talk about it. We think they leave with more of an education about how important it is," says Mike Stout, Director of the Illinois Department of Transportation.
State police say they're going to be gearing that message towards high schoolers over the next couple of months.
"Coming up Prom season, we'll be doing some mock crash scenes so its not only an enforcement issue, we're trying to educate people that seat belts save lives," says Illinois State Police Lt. Mike Van Vleet
Robertson says they're not doing this for the free publicity, but rather to save the lives of a new generation of Illinoisans.
"I just hope it teaches some people that wouldn't otherwise wear their seatbelt to convince them to do it," Robertson says.
IDOT officials say they plan on bringing the car on a tour of county fairs this summer to promote seat belt use.