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Challenge Teen Drivers to Buckle Up

Challenge Teen Drivers to Buckle Up

It is critically important for new drivers—all drivers—to wear seat belts, because in the United States, an average of 3,000 teenagers die each year in motor vehicle crashes.

Summer is fast approaching and young adults are hopping behind the wheel—many for the first time on their own—and heading for fun.

Souhegan High School’s team won the 2014 Seat Belt Challenge, buckling up in the fastest time for the win

One of the most effective means of keeping teens safe on the road is to buckle up.

FACT: Seat belts save lives.

The N.H. Statewide Annual Seat Belt Challenge was held on May 15 at the Police Standards and Training Academy. The challenge is aimed at both fun and education, according to Howard Hedegard from the Injury Prevention Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. For the challenge, teams composed of four members from area high schools or driver education programs took a seat in a stationary car and buckled up. On signal they all unbuckled, raced around the car and swapped seats, being sure to buckle back up each time. The team with the best time won. This year’s fast and fastened winners were the team from Souhegan High School, located in Amherst, N.H.

Twenty-six teams took part, and each participant received a T-shirt featuring a design by Elizabeth Callaghan, a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover. Callaghan won the N.H. Statewide Annual Seat Belt Challenge T-shirt Design Contest held earlier this year, and along with her winning design received a check for $125.

(Haas/Democrat photo) Elizabeth Callaghan, a junior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, holds up her design that won the N.H. Statewide Annual Seat Belt

These events are fun, says Hedegard, but the main purpose is to educate and engage teens in the promotion and awareness of safe driving. He urged all participants to drive safely, buckle up and encourage others to do the same, noting that one out every seven teenagers is involved in a crash within the first year they have their driver's license.

“It is critically important for new drivers—all drivers—to wear seat belts, because in the United States, an average of 3,000 teenagers die each year in motor vehicle crashes,” says Hedegard, who often shares the video “Somebody Loves You, Somebody Needs You: A Seat Belt Story.” The public service announcement tells the story of Chelsea Fuller, a Brentwood, N.H. teenager, whose life possibly could have been saved if she had been wearing a seat belt, and the impact her loss had on family and friends.

Summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers according to the American Automobile Association—especially between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.

Parents don’t let kids drive unbuckled.

Make a pact that both parents and teens agree to in writing:

  • Buckle up before starting the engine
  • Everyone in the car wears a seat belt.
  • No texting
  • No drinking and driving
  • Stay alert, and focus on the road
  • Stay safe
  • Be aware
  • Have fun!

For more information on seat belt safety visit http://www.buckleupnh.org


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