SIKESTON-Local schools took the challenge to buckle up and made it click with students. Statewide, 139 schools, including 38 in the Southeast District participated in this year's Battle of the Belt Challenge, a competition to raise seat belt use among teens.
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.
Notre Dame Regional High School won the Southeast District's award for the Highest Overall Seat Belt Use, achieving 99.76 percent seat belt use. South Pemiscot High School won the Southeast District's award for the Most Improved Seat Belt Use, increasing their seat belt use from 43.51 percent to 99.42 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 Southeast area will receive statewide recognition for seat belt use that reached gold (99-100%) or silver (95-98%) and will receive banners to display at the schools donated by the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians. Those schools include:
- Notre Dame Regional High School, Cape Girardeau-Gold
- Saxony Lutheran High School, Jackson-Gold
- Richland High, Essex-Silver
- South Pemiscot High School, Steele-Silver
For the 30-second video competition, 12 Missouri schools submitted 17 videos. The Southeast District's Couch High School, located in Myrtle, Mo., was named the state's first place winner. Second and third place winners include Diamond and Potosi High Schools, respectively. The winning videos may be viewed at www.savemolives.com. Winners will receive funding to further seat belt educational programs at their schools.
"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 Craig Compas, regional coordinator for Battle of the Belt. "Seat belts save lives."
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15-20 years old. Results of a 2012 survey among Missouri teens indicate 34 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.
Visit www.savemolives.com/southeast/index.html to learn more about Coalition activities in the Southeast District.