BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
CLEARFIELD - Several years ago, Clearfield High School had the lowest percentage of students wearing seat belts.
This year, Clearfield students broke the record for the highest percentage of students using seat belts С 95 percent. Students were honored Tuesday with a $1,000 check from the Utah Department of Transportation’s Zero Fatalities campaign and a check from Clearfield City for $500.
Utah State Troopers presented students with UDOT’s check and a large plaque.
Clearfield Mayor Don Wood, council member Ken Bush and other city officials were on hand to present the city’s check to the kids.
Each year, the Utah Highway Patrol selects a school in each county to participate in its “Adopt-a-High School,” programs that focuses on getting teens to wear their seat belts and to understand important motor vehicle safety issues.
Clearfield High School was chosen after observation surveys conducted by the Davis County Health Department several years ago showed Clearfield High had one of the lowest rates of seat belt use among students, at around 60 to 70 percent, according to UHP Sgt. Ted Tingey.
At the beginning of the school year, troopers stood in the school’s parking lot observing which students had their seat belts on as they arrived and left for the day, Tingey said.
Clearfield High School started this year with an 85 percent usage rate.
“That’s a great percentage for a high school of this size,” Tingey said. “We knew our work would be cut out for us to raise it another 10 percent,” he said.
Tingey doesn’t know the reason, but he said numbers of students who regularly use their seat belts fluctuates with each school by year.
“It seems like one class will be better at using seat belts than the previous year’s class,” he said.
Clearfield High School’s seat belt usage rate is the highest ever recorded by the UHP since the program was initiated in 2006 and beats last year’s number of 93 percent posted by Layton High School, Tingey said.
To bring those numbers up, troopers work with student body officers and advisers through the year on various safety activities that may include assemblies, activities at sports events, seat belt pledge banners, student recognition for buckling up and pictures taken at lunchtime that emphasized the importance of buckling up and of not texting while driving.
By the end of the year, troopers are so well known, students are coming up to them and greeting them by name, Tingey said.