MoDOT has recognized Northwestern High School in Mendon for their high rate of seat belt usage.  Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Teacher Mary Cupp:

Mary Cupp

Students did a preliminary check in October.  They then conducted several activities aimed at promoting seat belt usage.  After that they checked how many students were using the safety devices as they drove into school, and found rates to be at about 99 percent.

MoDOT presented them with a banner on Monday.

Press Release from the Missouri Department of Transportation

ST. JOSEPH – Students at Northwestern R-1 High School in Chariton County were honored Monday, Mar. 4, by representatives of the Missouri Northwest Region Coalition for their participation in the 2012 Northwest Region’s Battle of the Belt competition. Northwestern High School achieved 98.6 percent seat belt usage among their students and received a silver banner in recognition of their efforts during a school assembly.

One hundred and thirty-five schools, including 19 schools in the Northwest Region, participated in this year’s Battle of the Belt Challenge, a competition to raise seat belt use among teens.

Participating schools launched two surprise seat belt checks at each school to measure student seat belt use before and after an educational campaign. In addition, schools had the opportunity to submit a 30-second video spot to encourage their peers to buckle up.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15-20 years old. Results of a 2012 survey among Missouri teens indicate 34 percent of teens are not wearing their seat belt, putting them at greater risk to get killed or injured in traffic crashes. Seven out of 10 teens killed in Missouri traffic crashes are unbuckled.

Battle of the Belt was originally brought to southwest Missouri by the Missouri Emergency Nurses Association and St. John’s Hospital. In 2006, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, in conjunction with American Family Insurance, took the competition statewide and continue to sponsor this year’s program with the Missouri College of Emergency Physicians.

Is your school ready to take the challenge to buckle up? Learn more at