Lee's Summit, MO - Thirteen high schools across the Kansas City Region battled it out last fall in an annual statewide seat belt use competition to see who could increase their students' seat belt usage rate the most. One hundred and seventeen schools across the state participated in this year's Battle of the Belt Challenge, a competition to help decrease traffic-related injuries and fatalities.
Participating schools launched two surprise seat belt checks to measure student seat belt use before and after an educational campaign. In addition, schools had the opportunity to submit a 30-second video spot to encourage their peers to buckle up. All schools, both public and private are welcome to participate.
Belton High School in Cass County won the Kansas City Region's award for the Highest Overall Seat Belt Use achieving 99 percent seat belt use. Oak Grove High School in Jackson County won for Most Improved Seat Belt Use increasing their seat belt use from 61 percent to 78 percent. Both schools will receive $500 donated by American Family Insurance to be used for future seat belt educational programs at the schools.
Four schools in the Kansas City Region also will receive recognition for seat belt use that reached gold (99-100 percent), silver (95-98 percent) or bronze (91-94 percent) levels of seat belt use and will receive banners to display at the schools donated by the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians. Those schools include:
- Belton High School Gold
- Bucklin High School Silver
- Smithville High School Bronze
- Park Hill High School Bronze
- Kearney High School Bronze
- Liberty North High School Bronze
"Only 67 percent of Missouri teens buckle up and the majority of them injured or killed in crashes are unbuckled, so competitions like these are so important to help raise awareness and increase seat belt use amongst young drivers," said Laurel McKean, regional coordinator for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "Seat belts save lives, and if we can save even one life through Battle of the Belt, then we all win."
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15-20 years old. Results of a 2013 survey among Missouri teens indicate 33 percent of teens are not wearing their seat belt which puts them at greater risk to get killed or injured in traffic crashes. Seven out of 10 teens killed in Missouri traffic crashes are unbuckled.
Battle of the Belt was originally brought to southwest Missouri by the Missouri Emergency Nurses Association and St. John's Hospital. In 2006, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, in conjunction with American Family Insurance, took the competition statewide and continue to sponsor this year's program with the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.
Is your school ready to take the challenge to buckle up? Learn more at http://www.savemolives.com/.