Ask any parent and they’ll tell you – some of the most effective safety experts in the country can be found sitting in the backseat as they are shuttled to school, soccer practice and music lessons. Our children have been raised to think safety first. They climb into the family car; they buckle their safety belts right up – and they make sure everyone else has, too. They do this because, for years, that's what their parents and caregivers have instructed them to do.
And thanks to the "Be Ready. Be Buckled." art contest, each year we give kids the chance to share their advice more broadly. In this contest, hosted by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, kids use their artwork to show truck and bus drivers that safety belts save lives. And today, we are once again thrilled by this year's submissions encouraging commercial drivers to buckle up--every trip, every time.
Today our Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced this year's winning contest entries. Reilly Taylor (above left) of Independence, MO, and Caleb Zhao (above right) of Gaithersburg, MD, earned the grand prizes. The two grand prize winners and 10 other honorees will see their winning entries transformed into the CMV Safety Belt Partnership's 2014 "Be Ready. Be Buckled." calendar.
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.
So, congratulations to this year's contest winners and to everyone who submitted their artwork. Thanks for helping us spread the word that seat belts save lives. By sharing your art and its important safety message, you are making a real difference.