CIRCLEVILLE - Circleville High School was named the winner of the annual Seat Belt Challenge between the Pickaway County school districts at the kick-off of the national Click It or Ticket seat belt enforcement campaign on Monday.
The award, sponsored by the Safe Communities of Pickaway County program, is based on the results of seat belt surveys hosted at each of the high schools during the school year that award points for proper seat belt usage as well as deductions for negative driving habits like texting and cell phone usage.
"Students have been our best advocates and our best users of seat belts," said Sheriff Robert Radcliff as he presented the award on Monday.
He said teens may not realize that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death in their age group, and the annual Seat Belt Challenge is a way to recognize the importance of teen seat belt safety as well as the promotion of Click It or Ticket to all drivers and passengers in the community.
The national seat belt enforcement period runs May 18 through Memorial Day this year. Extra patrols are funded through a High Visibility Enforcement Overtime grant through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Radcliff and Chief Deputy Jim Bingman of the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office were joined by Officer Jon Farrelly, Circleville Police Department, and Lt. Steven Herron, commander of the Circleville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol at the ceremony on Monday, along with Teresa C. Carper, director of the local Safe Communities program, and Michael S. Brining, law enforcement liaison for the Ohio Traffic Safety Office, Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Student representatives for the award were Tammy Morris, Bailey Kemp, Madi Roar, Jordin Blakeman, Nick Keaton, Brandon Burroughs and Mitchell Castillo.
At the end of the school day Monday, all Pickaway County schools participated in a county-wide seat belt event in which law enforcement officers worked to reward students, parents and administrators if they were buckled up while leaving the school property.
"Individuals may choose not to wear their seat belts for a variety of reasons," Carper said. "But the reasons just don't make sense when it comes to what we see statistically. Also, we often see drivers who may be buckled up and their passengers will not be buckled up. Everyone should realize they can be injured or killed in the event of a crash and follow the law and recommended safety standards."
For more information on traffic safety, visit www.nhtsa.gov.