Traffic Safety: #FCCLAbucklesUP
By Josh Bowar, Featured Writer
Summer’s almost here, and that means you might be hitting the road as part of a family vacation, to travel to visit relatives, or just to have some fun.
The summer months are the most deadly for teens on the road. It’s important that you help others understand the importance of being safe while on the road, and sharing with your friends and family the importance of buckling up – every time, in every seat, and in every kind of vehicle – is a great way to do just that. It’s so important, seat belt use in on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Most Wanted List. The NTSB is always available as a great resource if you are interested in working on improving the seat belt laws in your state.
Did you know that seat belts are the oldest form of occupant protection, with Volvo patenting the first rudimentary seatbelt in 1889? However, it wasn’t until 1968 that the federal government required seat belts to be installed in all new passenger cars. As long as traffic crashes remain the number one killer of teenagers, seat belt use and other passenger restraints will be an important issue for teens, their friends, their family, and their community. Even though it only takes a few seconds to “click it”, there are still many teens who choose not to wear a seat belt. It’s time to change that!
Test yourself and use this quiz to educate others:
- Every state has at least some kind of seat belt law.
- If you wear a seat belt correctly while riding in the front seat of a car, your chances of a fatal injury are reduced by ___ percent.
- Is it best to use your seat belt on long trips or short trips?
- A. long trips B. short trips C. both D. It doesn’t really matter.
- Most crashes happen within ___ miles of home.
- In 2012 alone, seat belts saved approximately how many lives?
- A. 1,000 B. 5000 C. 12,174 D. 225
- Wearing your seat belt is your best insurance to prevent injury and death in the tragic case of a motor vehicle crash.
- Seat belt use is lowest among young drivers ages 16-24.
- Seat belts are your best defense against a drunk, drowsy, or distracted driver.
Sources: SaferCar.gov | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration | National Transportation Safety Board
So how can you help teens use a seat belt more often? Check out these easy and fun ideas!
Seat Belt Buckling Races: Show everyone how quick and easy it is to buckle up. Go to the school parking lot, and have at least three vehicles arranged in close proximity. Teams, each comprised of four people, get into separate cars. They buckle their seat belts as quickly as possible, raise their arms into the air, unbuckle their seat belts, get out of the car, and move to the next seat. The winning team is the first team in which all four members sit down and buckle up in the driver’s seat.
Seat Belt Pledge: Create a pledge banner with a seat belt safety message. Hang the pledge banner in a prominent place in the school. Then provide the opportunity for people to sign the pledge using permanent markers.
Seat Belt Scenarios: Have people create skits based on the following scenarios:
- You are riding with one of your friends to the mall to get a birthday present. Your friend doesn’t buckle up. When you ask them to, they respond by saying, “It’s no big deal.” What would you do?
- You’re riding home from soccer practice with a parent of a friend. They aren’t wearing a seat belt. What would you do?
- You really like this boy (or girl) in your English class. You’re out on a date to the latest movie. They say that it’s not really that cool to wear a seat belt. What would you do?
- Your mom is taking you to school one morning, and she’s not wearing her seat belt. She says she is a safe driver and doesn’t worry about wearing one. What would you do?
Living Seatbelt: On a designated day, have people join hands to encircle the building. In front, link the circle by “fastening” a large cardboard safety belt buckle. Be sure to invite elected officials to be part of this activity—and make sure the news media are informed. Explain to all the importance of wearing a seat belt.
Seat Belt Selfie: Have people take a picture of themselves sporting their seat belts. Remind them that they should take and post the selfie when they’re NOT driving. Have everyone upload the selfies to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #seatbeltselfie. Hold a contest with categories such as most retweeted, most likes, most creative, most original, and more.
Seat Belt Fashion Show: Organize a seat belt fashion show contest at school. Set a deadline for fashion seat belt submissions. After the deadline, organize a meeting with judges to select a winner. Announce the winner through a short fashion show during lunch or a break at school. Set up some flashing lights, blare some techno music, and have fun announcing all of the models that entered. The final model should be the winner. Give your models crazy designer names, and really hype up any small details on the seat belts.
Graduated Drivers Licensing Laws: Create a pre-test to determine what your classmates know as it relates to their state’s Graduated Drivers Licensing Laws (GDL). Once the test is completed, allow time to discuss answers and then research in small groups to discover what the laws are in your state and compare answers. Once you completed the test, bring a blank copy home to your parents and see how they do!
Thank you for your help in keeping your friends and families safe this summer. Remember to use #FCCLAbucklesUP!
- B. 45
- C. Both
- D. 25
- C. 12,174
Josh Bowar, Featured Writer