|This is National Teen Driver Safety Week|
This is National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW). It's a time designated by Congress each year to raise awareness of teen driver safety topics and to encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. This year's theme is again "It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving." According to the National Safety Council Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S.
In the spirit of the National Teen Driver Safety week All Children's Hospital is launching this year's Battle of the Belts Program. Battle of the Belts program is a competition among high schools, in which students create a campaign that they think, will increase seat belt use and decrease distracted driving among their peers and perhaps even their community.
Schools compete in the categories of Best Overall Seat Belt Use, Most Increased Seat Belt Use and Best Campaign. Best Overall Seat Belt Use and Most Increased Seat Belt Use are determined by pre and post surveys. These are done by community volunteers at the schools that decided to participate in the program.
Individual students competed in following categories: Best Essay, Best Poster Design and Best Public Service Announcement (PSA). Students can either will prizes, such as a digital camera or gift card or like in the PSA category they can have their public service announcement professionally reproduced and aired on television. PSAs for Polk and Pasco Counties are currently airing on CW44.
Check out two of last year's winners:
The program started in 2009 in Pasco County, because Pasco was one of the leading counties in teen fatalities in the State of Florida. Through continuous efforts of All Children's Hospital, Safe Kids Suncoast Pasco Council and many other community partners, the program continues to thrive in that county. Polk County is going into its 3rd year of the program and the most exciting part is that two schools in Polk ended up with a 98 percent seat belt use in the post survey! The program expanded into Pinellas County last year and it will be the first year for Manatee County.