Robots used for ATV safety

Safety Sam robots are used to educate children about being safe on ATVs. Four of the robots travel with the Dept. of Natural Resources, across the state. The goal is to educate people so no one else dies in an ATV crash.

It’s a lofty goal. But, Ashlee Bruggenschmidt, who lost her daughter Kate, 11, in an ATV accident July 26, 2015, said she believes team work can make it happen.

“Kate was always about being a team player. She would put her team mates before herself. She would sacrifice herself, her time, her wants, for the betterment of the team,” said Bruggenschmidt, a teacher in Boonville, Ind.

She said Play for Kate Foundation, which she founded after her daughter’s death, has teamed up with lawmakers, private businesses, trauma centers, the state Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Natural Resources, to form what she called the “ATV movement” in the State of Indiana.

“We are proud to tell you today that since July 1st, zero off-road vehicle-related fatalities to anyone under 18 in 2017,” said Capt. Bill Brown, with the Dept. of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division. That’s after the Helmet Law was passed and signed into law July 1.

That law mandates that anyone riding an ATV on public or private land, must wear a helmet.

That’s where the Safety Sam robots come into play. The goal of the robots is to educate kids.

“To date, Safety Sam has been in front of 55,000 people, mostly children, since unveiling him in March 2017,” said Bruggenschmidt. At a Tuesday news conference, two more Safety Sams, plus wrapped, covered trailers were donated to DNR to transport them across the state. There are now four Safety Sam robots in Indiana.

The remote-controlled robots drive a mini ATV, and they do it the right way: wearing a helmet.


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