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Muskegon, MI 49442
Last month, students in Karen Reynolds’ Criminal Justice class met their peers in the parking lot of the Muskegon Area Career Tech Center (MACTC) to perform random seat belt safety checks. The checks were the first step in a two-week countywide campaign to increase the use of seat belts among teens. The campaign is part of the National Organization for Youth Safety Seat Belts Save Challenge.
The following day, Criminal Justice students shared their results with MACTC students and staff at kick-off assemblies during the morning and afternoon class sessions. They also shared the alarming statistics that caused them to take action. Representatives from the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department, and police officers from the Norton Shores and Muskegon Police Departments even brought "The Convincer" to illustrate the force of a 7 mph collision.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 305 teens were killed in car crashes in Michigan between 2008 and 2012. Of these teens, 43% were not wearing seat belts. Seat belts could have saved 130 teen lives. Of the 130 teens killed while not wearing seat belts, 67 were drivers of the vehicle.
During the assemblies, students were asked to sign a pledge to commit to wearing their seat belts regularly. Criminal Justice students have also been promoting seat belt use through social media, school announcements, banners, signs, and peer-to-peer conversations.
Reynolds said the Criminal Justice students will perform a second, unannounced seat belt check after the campaign is over to determine if more students are wearing their seat belts.
“I have some amazing, imaginative students who are eager to help save their friends’ lives,” said Reynolds. “If even one student decides to change what they are currently doing and start wearing a seat belt, our campaign will have been a success,” added Reynolds.
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