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High school students promote traffic safety with Battle of the Belts

February 09, 2017

The annual "Battle of the Belts" (BOTB) contest school winners were announced Wednesday, January 25 at Gaither High School who had the best overall campaign, the best public service announcement and a second place tie for the highest seat belt compliance. It is a yearly tradition of campaign organizers that the overall winner hosts the BOTB awards ceremony.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. In fact, teens have the highest fatality rate in motor vehicle crashes than any other age group, along with the lowest safety belt use rates of all drivers. This rate is even lower when there are multiple teens in the vehicle.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Division and GEICO Auto Insurance has partnered with Hillsborough County Public Schools to increase seat belt use in teen drivers and their passengers by promoting the annual campaign challenge. All High Schools compete for cash prizes awarded at the conclusion of the campaign.

“Safety is so important, and is our number one priority for our students at Gaither” said Principal Tommy Morrill.

Eligibility is determined by participating in the seat belt compliance survey and Seat Belt Safety Awareness events during the campaign period. Each High School Resource Deputy/Officer is instrumental in advising and helping students with their entry to the challenge. Nurses from Tampa General Hospital also volunteered to assist with the survey counts at our high schools.

Gaither’s top three finishes in three separate categories netted the school $1675 in prize money. The money will go directly back to the Student Government Association.

“Having this money will allow us to focus on implementing upcoming projects that we would have otherwise had to fundraise to accomplish. It’s a great feeling to see our student’s hard work be rewarded,” said Teresa Trumbach, Student Government Association/Leadership Advisor at Gaither.

This year’s winning public service announcement was emotionally charged for the students at Gaither because the message hit close to home.

Junior Giavonna Reyes, who is a class senator in the student government, rallied other student government members as well as some friends for the production of the public service announcement about her best friend Cierra Killeen.

“When you think about it, this is reality. This is someone you see every day in the hallway. She is my best friend; we are very proud of this this PSA because it was from our hearts,” said Reyes.

Everyone wins when seat belts are worn properly and safety measures are in place. Additional contest winners and prizes can be found here.

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