Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury and death among young drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 80% of teens and young adults wear their seat belts , which is a lower rate than other age groups. Increasing seat belt use can be an effective way to enhance safety and reduce fatalities on roadways.
In Louisiana, the Covington Police Department is working together on a pro-active and positive approach to encourage teen drivers and their passengers to wear seat belts. For the second year in a row, the police department is conducting the “I Got Caught” program at local high schools.
For this program, police officers conduct seatbelt inspections at the end of the school day. If students are wearing their seat belts, they receive a t-shirt that reads “I Got Caught” on the front, and “Wearing My Seat Belt” on the back. Students not wearing their seat belts receive educational materials about the safety benefits of buckling up. The program is a community partnership, with local businesses donating the t-shirts.
Chief of Police Tim Lentz is pleased that the program is continuing into its second year: “Last year’s campaign was a tremendous success. Thanks to the continued support of our local businesses, we have another opportunity to educate our children on the safety seatbelts provide, in a positive manner. With summer almost here, teens will spend more time on the road than ever and we want to make their journeys as safe as possible.”