Ottawa High School students did a better job of buckling up this fall than they did the previous two years, Dennis Butler said.
A survey of students pulling into the school parking lot Oct. 9-10 showed seat belt use among drivers and passengers was at 85 percent, up markedly from the first two years of the Seatbelts are for Everyone (SAFE) initiative that kicked off in the 2011-2012 school year, Butler, Ottawa police chief, said. The SAFE campaign is spearheaded by the police department and student members of the school’s SAFE committee in an effort to encourage more teens to buckle up.
In the first year of the program, 61 percent of students were wearing their seat belts in the fall 2011 survey. The follow-up survey in spring 2012 showed 81 percent of students were wearing their seat belts, Butler said.
Last school year, 72 percent of students were buckled up in the initial fall survey, while 79 percent of students were found to be wearing their seat belts in the spring survey, the chief said.
“I was ecstatic,” Butler said of this year’s fall survey.
Butler shared the survey results with students during an all-school assembly Thursday afternoon at the high school, 1120 S. Ash St., Ottawa.
As an incentive to get students to buckle up, Butler told the student body that students who fill out cards pledging to wear their seat belts at all times will be entered into a monthly drawing for four cash prizes of $25 each.
During the final SAFE assembly in the spring, one mini iPad will be given away during a random grand-prize drawing, while a second mini iPad will be given to a student nominated by the SAFE committee who embraces, practices and promotes driver safety to other students, Butler told the students.
Before the assembly, Butler said 85 percent was a great start to the year, but more work remains to be done before the final assembly in the spring.
“My goal is to reach 100 percent,” Butler said.