SIKESTON, MO - Missouri schools took the challenge to buckle up and made it click with students. Across the state, 195 schools participated in this year's Battle of the Belt Challenge-a competition to raise seat belt use among teens. Forty-three Southeast Missouri high schools participated in the challenge.
Participating schools launched two surprise seat belt checks at each school 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.
Saxony Lutheran High School of Jackson, Mo., won the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety's award for the Highest Overall Seat Belt Use achieving 98.9 percent seat belt use. Clearwater High School of Piedmont, Mo., won the Southeast Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety's award for the Most Improved Seat Belt Use improving their seat belt use by 32.8 percent. Both schools will receive $500 donated by American Family Insurance to be used for future seat belt educational programs at the schools.
Thirty-seven schools will receive statewide recognition for seat belt use that reached gold (99-100%), silver (95-98%) or bronze (91-94%) levels of seat belt use and will receive banners to display at the schools donated by the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians. In Southeast Missouri, those schools include:
- Saxony Lutheran High School of Jackson, Mo.-98.9% (Silver)
- Notre Dame High School of Cape Girardeau, Mo.-98.37% (Silver)
- Thomas W. Kelly High School of Benton, Mo.-96.55% (Silver)
For the 30-second video competition, 42 videos were submitted by Missouri high schools. The top three winning videos will also receive funding to further seat belt educational programs at their schools. The winning videos were submitted by the following schools and can be viewed by visiting http://www.savemolives.com/.
- 1st Place-Washington High School of Washington, Mo. for "Stay in the Picture"
- 2nd Place-Pattonville High School of Maryland Heights, Mo. for "4 Seconds"
- 3rd Place-Washington High School of Washington, Mo. for "Buckle Up Arrive Alive"
"We're proud of our local schools for showing a commitment to buckling up and wanting to help other teens understand the importance of wearing a seat belt every time they ride in or drive a vehicle," said Sandy Taurone, regional contact for Battle of the Belt. "Seat belts save lives."
Traffic crashes are a 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 putting 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/.