The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

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Stafford SADD students conduct annual safety belt survey

Photo submitted by SADD
Amber Fischer(Rutland HS), Justin Franklin(Rutland HS) and Dustin Stone(Mill River)

Recently, students from Stafford Technical Center's SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Chapter did their annual fall safety belt survey at the entrance to Rutland High School and Stafford Technical Center. The date that was chosen, unfortunately, was one when Rutland High School had standardized testing, so a large number of drivers came in at the same time and there was road construction on Woodstock Avenue and Stratton Road. The students' thought that, given the conditions, people would be driving or riding in a much safer manner. They were surprised to find a number of people, both adults and students, who were driving far too fast as they entered the school.

The students found that a number of drivers were texting, speaking on the phone, smoking, drinking, or eating as they entered the school. This seemed unsafe (as well as often being illegal) given the number of vehicles in the area, the number of pedestrians, and other conditions. The students also observed two vehicles with drivers holding dogs in their laps, and a number of youngsters who were either not in a child safety seat as required by law, or incorrectly secured in the seat.

They also found an improvement in the rate of safety belt use of any safety belt survey that they had undertaken. Of the 718 operators and passengers who were observed, 92.6% were wearing safety belts; 7.4% were not.

As always, there was a significant difference among safety belt usages between males and female operators; the males were wearing belts 89.0% of the time; the females were belted 95.4% of the time. Passengers, this time, wore safety belts at about the same rate as the operators. An interesting observation that the students made was that the farther back in a van a person was sitting, the less likely he or she was to be wearing belts. This was amazing, given the fact that the farther back in a "mommy mobile" a person is seated, the younger he usually is.

Stafford students who did the survey were Nikki Greenier, a senior from Mill River Union High School, who acted as the Project Director, Mill River Union High School junior Roger Brown, the Assistant Project Director, Mill River junior Dustin Stone, Rutland High School juniors Amber Fischer and Justin Franklin and Poultney High School junior John Blanchard and senior Tyler Manning.