Monday, September 15, 2008

Missouri High Schools Challenged to Battle to Buckle Up!

Seat Belt Campaign to Save Teen Lives

Calling all Missouri high schools to battle! The 2008 Battle of the Belt Challenge is under way. Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, the statewide competition is in its third year and will run Sept. 15 – Nov. 21 to educate young drivers about seat belt use and hopefully save lives and reduce traffic-crash injuries.

Although comprising only 7 percent of Missouri’s licensed drivers, young drivers were involved in 19 percent of the fatal and disabling injury crashes. Since 1995 in Missouri, more than 1,900 teen occupants ages 15-19 years old have been killed and more than 20,000 have experienced disabling injuries in nearly 18,000 severe crashes.

To battle these statistics, more than 80 schools took the challenge in 2007, with students performing surprise seat belt checks at their high school, coupled with an educational campaign on the importance of seat belt use. In addition to the peer seat belt checks and educational campaign, students had the opportunity to submit a video of a 30-second television spot. Each winning entry received cash prizes, and the video winner was aired statewide. The top video entry last year was a creative spot featuring a car, a banana peel and a lesson on buckling up. It can be viewed at

“More than 80 percent of the teens killed in Missouri vehicle crashes each year aren’t buckled up,” said Leanna Depue, chair of the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety’s executive committee. “That’s why we’re so excited to have schools participate in the Battle of the Belt challenge. Through education, competition and fun, we can make a difference with Missouri teens and save lives.”

Missouri high schools may choose to participate in one or both components of the program. Prizes will be awarded for each component.

Prizes include:
· $1,000 to the Missouri school with the highest overall safety belt use rate
· $1,000 to the Missouri school with the most improved safety belt use rate
· $1,000 to the student or group producing a winning 30-second video PSA for safety belt use, and professional production of the video and possible use in local and statewide media
· Regional monetary awards for the highest overall safety belt use rate and most improved safety belt use rate

The 2008 Battle of the Belt challenge is sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and American Family Insurance.

For more information on Battle of the Belt and last year’s winners, or to sign up your local high school for the 2008 challenge, visit

Buckle Up to Arrive Alive!

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