SAFE program yields more seat belt use among kids

Thursday, April 26, 2012

For the second year in a row, the Fort Scott High School S.A.F.E. Team recorded an increase in seat belt use among its students, staff and parents.

The SAFE Team started with a baseline survey at the beginning of the school year and interviewed students, staff and parents entering the school. Based on those findings, 82 percent of students and staff said they regularly wear their seat belt.

From the results gathered from the unannounced surveys distributed Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, admitted seat belt use increased 6 percent to 88 percent.

Fort Scott Police Department School Resource Officer and FSHS S.A.F.E Coordinator Toby Nighswonger said he was proud of the results and hopes to continue increasing the number of seat belt users.

"Our goal is to just increase (it) each year," Nighswonger said. "Any increase we have is another chance to keep kids safe and buckled up."

The ultimate goal, he said, was to boost seat belt use percentage be into the 90s.

The basis for the program, Nighswonger said, is to have students sign a pledge card each month stating that they will buckle up.

Every month, Nighswonger draws six pledge cards and awards those students with $25 Visa gift cards. This month, he will select 12 students to award with gift cards because a drawing was not held in March.

A final grand prize, an iPad Touch, will also be given away this week.

S.A.F.E. is a law enforcement program that aims to increase teen restraint compliance through positive rewards and enforcement.