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MoDOT News Release 

For more information contact Laura Holloway at (573) 751-5414 or Laura.Holloway@modot.mo.gov, or Adrian Hendricks at (573) 751-5420 or Adrian.HendricksII@modot.mo.gov.

February 19, 2008 12:00 AM
Battle of the Belt Conquered by Missouri High Schools

JEFFERSON CITY - Buckle Up to Arrive Alive! is the message thousands of Missouri high school students have taken to heart as part of the statewide Battle of the Belt seat belt challenge. Students in St. Louis and Cape Girardeau have proven they are up for the test.

Pattonville High School in St. Louis and Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau are the two statewide winners for the educational component of the challenge.

Participating schools performed an initial surprise safety belt check for students, followed by a peer-designed educational blitz and a final surprise safety belt check to determine if a change of behavior occurred.

Notre Dame High School won the statewide award for the highest safety belt usage overall, with 97.8 percent usage.

Pattonville High School won the statewide award for the greatest percentage increase in safety belt usage, with a 61.4 percent increase.

More than 80 schools participated statewide from Sept. 6 - Dec. 31, 2007, with two winners chosen from each of ten regions for the educational component, one for most improved and one for highest usage. Each regional winner receives $250, while the two statewide winners receive an additional $1,000 in prize money.

"Battle of the Belt is a fun challenge for students that can save lives," said Leanna Depue, chair of the executive committee for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. "It's vital to impress teens with the importance of wearing their seat belt so they don't become a tragic statistic."

Winners of the additional component of Battle of the Belt, where students submitted public service announcement concepts, will be announced March 28 at a banquet honoring all statewide winners.

The program is sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, American Family Insurance and the Missouri Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Teens are an important audience for safety belt messages. The Missouri Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Missouri Safety Center, recently conducted a study showing only 61 percent of Missouri teenagers wear safety belts. In the past three years, nearly 400 young drivers died in Missouri traffic crashes, and 72 percent were not buckled up.

For more information on the importance of safety belts and a list of all Battle of the Belt winners, visit www.savemolives.com/ or call 800-800-BELT.

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