Students challenged to drive safe, buckle up

Nearly seven of ten young drivers and passengers killed in 2018 Missouri vehicle traffic crashes did not wear seat belts, says Jon Nelson, executive committee chair for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. To help curb young driver deaths and bring awareness to safety issues, the state created the It Only Takes One campaign.

The Missouri Department of Transportation invites Missouri high schools to compete in the 2019 It Only Takes One campaign for an opportunity to win prizes while educating young drivers about safe driving habits and seat belt use.

Sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and ACT Missouri, the statewide competition will run from Oct. 1 to the end of the school year.

“It’s important that teen drivers realize it only takes one text, one drink, one call, one reach or one distraction to cause one fatal moment, but that one clicked seat belt could be the difference between life or death in a car crash,” states a MoDOT release.

Nearly seven of ten young drivers and passengers killed in 2018 Missouri vehicle traffic crashes did not wear seat belts, said Jon Nelson, executive committee chair for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

“Through education, competition and fun, the It Only Takes One campaign can make a difference with young Missourians and save lives,” he said.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15-20 years old. Research indicates that driver distractions are the primary cause of fatal collisions.

“In addition, one of the greatest risk factors faced by teens is the number of passengers in the vehicle. Studies have confirmed that with the presence of just one passenger, teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash,” states the MoDOT release.

The program consists of two surprise safety belt checks at each high school to measure student safety belt usage, and also includes creative educational campaigns that promote safe driving throughout the school year.

In addition, schools have the opportunity to submit a 30-second video spot aimed at encouraging their peers to buckle up and drive safe.

Grant funding prizes are awarded to schools with the most creative and impactful educational campaigns and public service announcements.

The grant funding will be used to further educate the students on the importance of seat belt use and safe driving habits. Statewide recognition will be awarded with a banner to schools with the highest seat belt usage rates.

Sign-up can be done online at www.savemolives.com/itonlytakesone before Sept. 30.