DOT Announces Winners of 2013 Safety Belt Student Art Contest
Two elementary students — a second grader from Maryland, and a third grader from Missouri — are the top winners in this year’s “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Safety Belt Student Art Contest sponsored by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood congratulated the winners Monday at an awards ceremony held at Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he was joined by National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA) David Strickland and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator Bill Bronrott.
The top winners are second grader Caleb Zhao from Gaithersburg, Maryland, and third grader Reilly Taylor from Independence, Missouri, according to a DOT press release. Zhao and Taylor received framed replicas of their artwork which shows the need for commercial bus and truck drivers to wear seat belts every time they get behind the wheel. The two also received a monetary award courtesy of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, which includes FMCSA, NHTSA, and 30 other government agencies and private organizations.
The winners of the contest (listed in alphabetical order by state) are:
- Mykenzey Granillo, Age 9, Grade 4, Des Moines, IA
- Sara Toto, Age 8, Grade 1, Methven, MA
- Caleb Zhao, Age 8, Grade 2, Gaithersburg, MD
- Brady Pugh, Age 6, Grade 1, St. Joseph, MO
- Reilly Taylor, Age 8, Grade 3, Independence, MO
- Jennifer Tian, Age 7, Grade 1, Highland Park NJ
- Keya Raval, Age 8, Grade 3, Edison, NJ
- Michelle Huang, Age 10, Grade 4, Edison, NJ
- Jacqueline Metz, Age 12, Grade 6, Hillsdale, NJ
- Kylie Woods, Age 8, Grade 3, Marysville,OH
- Jaques LeCoq, Age 5, Grade K, Alexandria, VA
- Kyleigh Jones, Age 10, Grade 4, Midlothian, VA
On his blog, Fast Lane, LaHood writes: “And today, we are once again thrilled by this year’s submissions encouraging commercial drivers to buckle up — every trip. every time.” The two grand prize winners and 10 other honorees will see their winning entries as part of the CMV Safety Belt Partnership’s 2014 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” calendar.
In 2010, 78 percent of commercial bus and truck drivers wore safety belts while operating behind the wheel. That was up from 74 percent in 2009, 65 percent in 2007, and only 48 percent in 2003. But it’s not nearly high enough, especially when compared to the 85% of the general public who wear them in their personal vehicles.
Safety belts are the single most effective injury prevention component of highway vehicles today. A 2007 review of unbelted commercial motor vehicle driver fatalities and serious injuries indicated that 39 percent of those deaths could have been prevented by safety belt use. As many as 81 percent of moderately to seriously injured drivers could have sustained less severe injuries if they were buckled up.
The numbers speak for themselves. From 2006 to 2010, safety belts saved more than 69,000 lives.