Annual Seatbelt Challenge Brings Awareness to Safe Driving
May 08, 2012
CANTON, Ohio (May 8, 2012) – Stark County health and safety officials desperately want to prevent fatal crashes and near misses. So, a group of Stark organizations are teaming up to expand the annual Seatbelt Challenge. The event allows area teenagers to learn the importance of seat belts and responsible driving.
National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) statistics show that in 2010 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,546 lives nationwide. The community, including teens, parents and families, is encouraged to attend the free, fun-filled event. All attendees will be entered into a raffle to win prizes.
“We target teens because vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for them,” said Chief Deputy Rick Perez, of the Stark County Sheriff’s Office. “When worn correctly, seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat occupants by 45 percent and by 60 percent in pickup trucks, SUV’s and mini-vans.”
The ninth annual event will be held Saturday, May 19 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton. About 20 area high schools are expected to compete in the Seatbelt Challenge.
Each four-person team competes in a timed obstacle race, which includes buckling-up in an Ohio Army National Guard Humvee and wearing “Fatal Vision Goggles” to stimulate alcohol impairment while running through an obstacle.
The event is presented by: Ohio Army National Guard, Aultman Health Foundation, Canton City Health Department, Perry Township Police Department, Pro Football Hall of Fame and Stark County Safe Communities. Sponsors are as follows: BSN Sports, Canton Chair Rental, Esber Beverage, Fawcett Stadium, Lasting Impressions, Louisville Police Department, Ohio Department of Public Safety, Perry Adult Booster Club, Pizza Oven, Scherba Industries, Slugger’s & Putters, Smith Ambulance Services and Stark County Police Chief’s Association. Adult teams participating include area police departments, sponsors and more.
The event begins at 9:30 a.m. and includes other fun activities such as a rock climbing wall, football and basketball toss games, free admission to the Hall of Fame for participants, DARE and police cars, a vertical jump challenge, prize drawings and free pizza, cotton candy and popcorn for participants.
• In Stark County during 2011, 9 teens were killed in motor vehicle crashes and an additional 3 were the at-fault driver in fatal traffic crashes.
• In Stark County during 2011, 83.34 percent of teen motor vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
• In Stark County during 2011, 65 percent of all occupants killed in traffic crashes were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
• In 2009, eight teens ages 16 –19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries
• Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 – 19 are four times more likely to crash than older drivers.
• Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for young people 15 – 20 years old in the United States, and this is due in large part to low seatbelt use.
• Studies show that if you are not wearing a seatbelt in a crash of 30 mph, your impact with the object that stops you would be the same impact as falling three stories.
• A simple way to approximate the force of a crash is to multiply the weight of a person by the speed of the vehicle. For example: a 130 lb. person traveling 30 mph is equal to 3900 pounds of force.