HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Local schools were recognized recently for raising seat belt usage among teens.
Statewide there were 138 schools participating in the Battle of the Belt Challenge, including 28 out of 41 schools in Northeast Missouri. 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.
Northeast High School in Cairo won the regional award for the highest overall seat belt use achieving 100 percent seat belt use. Adair County R-1 High School in Novinger won the Northeast Regional award for the most improved seat belt use increasing their seat belt use from 38 percent to 97 percent. Both schools will receive $500 donated by American Family Insurance to be used for future seat belt educational programs at the schools.
Six schools in Northeast Missouri will receive statewide recognition for seat belt use:
º Northeast High School, Cairo -- Gold Banner with 100 percent seat belt usage.
º Highland High School, Ewing -- Silver Banner with 97.83 percent usage.
º Adair County R-1 High School, Novinger -- Silver Banner with 97.3 percent compliance.
º Marion County High School, Philadelphia -- Silver Banner with 95.59 percent usage.
º Ralls County R-II, Mark Twain High School, Center -- Bronze Banner with 93.75 percent usage.
º Pike County R-III Clopton High School, Clarksville -- Bronze Banner with 91.19 percent usage.
"We're proud of our local schools for showing a commitment to buckling up and wanting to help other teens understand the importance of wearing a seat belt every time they ride in or drive a vehicle," said Tana Akright, regional coordinator for Battle of the Belt.
Seat belts save lives, Akright said. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 20 years old. According to a 2012 survey, only 66 percent of Missouri teens buckle up. In the past three years, 354 teens died in Missouri traffic crashes, 75 percent of whom were not buckled up.