Local high school club finds more people wear seat belts driving to school after safety campaign

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Health Occupations Students of America Club at Canyon Ridge High School participates in a Seat Belts Save campaign.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports in 2016, 17 teenagers from the age of 15 to 19 have been killed in car crashes. Sixty-nine percent of those were not wearing seat belts, meaning 11 lives could have been saved if they were wearing one.

The National Organization for Youth Safety puts on a national campaign and the high school club participated in it.

"The point is to get 15 percent difference in kids wearing their seat belts on the last seat belt check to the first seat belt check," said club president and student Rachel Cawley.

The students of the club had an unannounced survey, watching people drive onto school campus and noting if they wear seat belts or not.

"A lot of the students were wearing seat belts, especially if they were in the car with their parents," Cawley continued. "The closer it got to the bell, the less seat belts we saw."

The first seat belt check was on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and they found almost 24.5 percent of people passing through without the safety strap.

"I thought of it as 'What if 300 kids at our school died in a car accident,' because that would impact us a lot," she said.

On Thursday, the students of the club went around to different classrooms, educating their peers on seat belt safety.

"I think that our presentation will make a difference," Cawley said.

The statistics and videos they showed to the class made student Abigayle Marsh realize the importance of seat belts.

"It's not a joke not to wear it, because even if you're 30 seconds away from your house, you should put it on before you start the car," Marsh said.

From the presentation, most fatal accidents happen within 25 minutes from the home because people drive worse on more familiar roads, causing driving to be dangerous.

On Tuesday morning, the club went out to survey incoming traffic to the school again, and they found an improvement from the first seat belt check.

The club found 17 percent of those coming in did not wear seat belts, decreasing from the 24.5 percent from the previous week.

The campaign needed a 15 percent improvement and they made a 29.8 percent improvement.

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