save lives by decreasing the incidence of impaired driving, increasing the
correct use of child safety seats and safety belts, and promoting safety when
The Battle of the Belts
Two high schools—one prize—all for the sake of safety
Rural Fremont County, Wyoming is home to two cities, Riverton and Lander. Less than 45 minutes away from each other, their high schools are rivals in just about everything they do, from academics to sports. These days though, thanks to Injury Prevention Resources (IPR) of Wyoming, these two schools have added something new to their list of rivalries, seat belt usage.
“We had noticed students, teachers, and even bus drivers were not regularly buckling up when entering and exiting the schools’ parking lots,” says IPR Executive Director Noel Cooper. “Seat belt usage numbers were actually decreasing.”
Looking for a unique way to increase seat belt usage at both schools, IPR teamed up with administrators to introduce the ‘Battle of the Belts,’ competition. This creative program takes advantage of the natural rivalry between schools and challenges students to increase seatbelt usage. The winning school in this annual competition gets to claim bragging rights for the year. They also get to claim ownership of a one-of-a-kind pro wrestling style championship belt.
The first step was to conduct unannounced seat belt usage surveys at each school in order to determine current seat belt usage. At Riverton High School, 57 percent of students and staff were seen wearing seat belts compared to 54 percent at Lander Valley High School.
Following the initial surveys, IPR introduced the Battle of the Belts competition at school assemblies; sharing each school’s initial survey results and challenging the students to do better.
A few weeks later, IPR conducted a follow up survey to see if seat belt usage had changed. In the second survey, Riverton High School increased their usage to 77.5 percent and Lander Valley High increased their usage to 81.5 percent.
Lander Valley High was crowned the 2014 Battle of the Belts champions and presented with their official championship belt at a school pep rally.
“I’m looking forward to defending the belt in the future,” said Lander Valley High School Vice Principal Brad Neuendorf. “This competition is a great way for our school resource officers, students and staff to be involved and productive in a good way for our community.”
“There’s still room for improvement at both schools,” says IPR Safety Education Coordinator Tom Cunningham. “We’re trying to remind all drivers, that buckling your seatbelt is the single most important thing you can do to save your life while driving.”
State Farm is committed to improving teen driver safety and helping new drivers build confidence on the road. State Farm provides funding to Injury Prevention Resources in support of their teen driver safety program.
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