One Belmont County high school is putting safety first by buckling up. Right now, we’re in the middle of what’s called the 100 deadliest days for teenagers, the time between prom season and the start of summer, but Belmont County is driving the extra mile with their seat belts on to let others know that they should do the same.
The simple click of a buckle can save your life, and that’s what students at Bridgeport High are doing. Zac Shutler, the superintendent of Bridgeport schools, tells 7News, “bringing attention to the seat belt issue is something that can benefit a lot of people not just in our area but nationally.”
The school was given an award by the Ohio Highway Patrol for highest percentage of seat belt use in Belmont County. Lt. James Faunda, the commander of St. C highway patrol post, said, “Bridgeport high school had a 90 percent usage rate which is the highest in the county.” Shutler said, “Is 100 percent realistic? Probably not, but if it makes the one kid make a decision to buckle up when they get in the car, if it makes one parent realize how important it is that their child needs to be in a booster seat when they bring them to school then this initiative has made an impact.”
The Ohio Highway Patrol wants to push the message for student drivers that buckling up should be the automatic response every time you step into a vehicle. For student drivers, they work by doing different projects like mock accidents and school talks. In this case, the Highway Patrol did a random survey of the county’s high schools. They plan on doing more of these in the future. Faunda said, “Well we’re going to continue to do this program in the spring before prom like we just finished and in the fall before homecoming.” Rob Zitzelsberger, the Bridgeport high principal, said “Well I think that would be a good thing to check every once in a while ourselves just to make sure they’re wearing seat belts.”
The school was given the award earlier on Friday and also had a billboard made in honor of the award. You can see this on route 7 heading southbound just before the interstate 470 exit.
The Ohio Highway Patrol wants to remind people that not only should you buckle up for safety, but because it’s the law. If you get pulled over for not wearing a seat belt in Belmont county, you get fined $90. In other Ohio counties, it can be upwards up to $150.