Missouri high school students are invited to compete in the 2013 Battle of the Belt Challenge for an opportunity to win cash and prizes for their school while educating young drivers about safety belt use.
Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, this statewide competition will run Oct. 1 to Nov. 8.
“Eight out of 10 teens killed in Missouri vehicle crashes each year aren’t buckled up,” said Leanna Depue, executive committee chair for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “Through education, competition and fun, the Battle of the Belt Challenge can make a difference with Missouri teens and save lives.”
Young drivers are over-represented in crashes both nationwide and in Missouri. Although comprising only 10 percent of Missouri’s licensed drivers, they are involved in more than 24 percent of the fatal and disabling injury crashes.
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 safety belts.
The program consists of two surprise seat belt checks at each high school to measure student seat belt usage before and after and educational campaign on the importance of safety belt use.
In addition, schools have the opportunity to submit a 30-second video spot aimed at encouraging their peers to buckle up.
Statewide and regional cash prizes are awarded to schools reaching high safety belt usage rates for use to further educate the students on the importance of safety belt use.
Schools achieving Highest Overall Seat Belt Use and Most Improved Seat Belt Use regionally will receive $500 donated by American Family Insurance to be used for future seat belt educational programs at the schools.
Statewide recognition will be awarded with a banner for seat belt use donated by the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.
The top three winning 30-second video spots will also receive money to further seat belt educational programs at their schools.
Battle of the Belt Challenge participation agreement forms are available online at saveMOlives.com before Oct. 1.