Students at a high school in Johnson City, Tennessee are working to change the reputation of teenagers when it comes to driving. Science Hill High School is participating in the Battle of the Belt Campaign, which is a competition among high schools across the state that aims to teach young drivers the importance of wearing a seat belt. The campaign originated in Missouri by the Emergency Nurses Association and St. Johns Hospital. Science Hill adopted the slogan “Let’s Graduate Together–BUCKLE UP,” in an effort to encourage seat belt use among its students.
School Resource Officer Tony Ward explained how the program works–“We’re going to do occasional seat belt checks . . . We’ll just set up in the morning time and observe the students as they come in and just see whether they’re wearing their seat belts or not. I mark it down how many cars I check and how many students are in the car, how many have their seat belts on.” Ward, along with Johnson City Medical Center representative Carol Jones and health education teacher Jan Mould, have been at the forefront of the campaign and have kept up with its progress. Jones and Johnson City Police Department Lt. Larry Williams have spoken to students in Mould’s classes about the campaign. Mould’s classes have also created posters and made public service announcements about the campaign.
Ward stated that a higher percentage of teenagers, as compared to other age groups, do not wear their seat belts, so seat belt safety education is very important. He went on to give an example that explained that when your car is traveling 40 mph, so is your body; even if your car comes to a halting stop, your body is still moving at 40 mph, which can throw you into a steering wheel or through a windshield if you are not wearing a seat belt. The failure to wear a seat belt can lead to more fatalities in car crashes. A representative from the Tennessee Highway Patrol is supposed to come talk to the class sometime this year and will bring a simulator to show students what happens to a person’s body in a rollover crash. “A trophy will be awarded at the end of each school year to the school with the highest percentage of seat belt use and best educational campaign.”
Students participate in seat belt campaign, www.palmbeachpost.com December 27, 2013
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