By Max Hrenda
If you ask students at Elizabethton High School about seatbelts, they may tell you they understand how important they can be.
“I think teenagers realize what a seatbelt can do for you and how it can save your life when you’re in a bad accident,” said EHS senior Karter Geagley.
Despite that understanding, data shows that Tennessee’s teenagers are among the nation’s worst when it comes to buckling up. The question that remains is “why.”
“People in high school don’t think it’s cool to wear seatbelts,” said EHS senior Katie Geagley, Karter’s twin sister. “One of my friends actually just got a ticket for not wearing their seatbelt, and still doesn’t wear it.”
Elizabethton Police Officer Matt Taylor and the Tennessee Highway Patrol hope to cause a shift in the way teenagers think about safe driving.
This morning, EHS officially began its participation in the THP’s Battle of the Belt contest, designed to raise seatbelt awareness in schools across the state.
Taylor, EHS’ school resource officer, will coordinate the school’s efforts over the coming year.
“All the high schools that will participate are attempting to get 100 percent of the student population to wear seatbelts, when they’re coming to school, out of school, or leaving school,” Taylor said. “It’s going to run from October to April 1. Throughout that time, we’re going to be doing little games with students where they can win prizes, while reminding them to wear seatbelts.”