Participants in Bay County’s Battle of the Belts
Four Bay County high schools are competing for a trophy and cash in a local competition, held between now and the end of school, that honors the high school with the most students wearing safety belts.
The 2nd Annual Battle of the Belts competition, coordinated by the Bay County Community Traffic Safety Team (CTST), is an event designed to help encourage high school students to wear their safety belts every time they drive or ride in vehicles. As a member of the Bay County CTST, FHP's Lt. Joe Tucker (shown in the above photo, far right) reminded participants that car crashes are the number one killer of teens. He added that timing of the Battle of the Belts event was good because it is almost summertime, and the goal of the program was to have students leave school with safety belts on their minds.
Earlier this month, traffic officials conducted an unannounced survey, secretly monitoring the number of students wearing safety belts as they left the parking lots from their respective schools. Later in May, another survey will be conducted to see if educational efforts to encourage safety belt usage are effective. The winning school – the one with the highest number of students wearing safety belts during the survey – will receive a trophy and a cash award to be used for school functions next year.
Although the Battle of the Belts competition is all in fun, the number of teens who have died in car crashes because they were not wearing their safety belts is no laughing matter. As recent as March, Bay County mourned the death of a 17-year old student who was killed when she lost control of her car on County Road 2301. She might be alive today if she had been wearing her safety belt when she crashed.