Get it Together and Buckle Up: Tallwood High School Seat Belt Actions


Frances Summers, Features Editor

As more Tallwood students begin to drive, there is a rising concern for their safety. With distracted driving being a common problem on the roads, students should precaution themselves and prepare to drive by bucking up. Tallwood High School’s “Buckle Up: Seat belt Challenge” promotes the focus of students buckling up in order to prevent potential harm from accidents and ensure safe driving.

This challenge should radiate through the driving community of Tallwood students in order to communicate the word of the importance of driving safely with a seat belt. “The Buckle-up Seat belt challenge is a program by Drive Smart Hampton Roads and is co-sponsored by State Farm and the Virginia Beach Police department,” says Coach Richardson, a Tallwood staff member who runs this challenge.

This challenge has initiated, and will initiate, activities that put forth the reminder to buckle up. According to Richardson, these include: announcements at sporting events reminding people to buckle up, seat-belt pledge cards, mock crash demonstrations, and many more items.”

In order to check up on the students and their action upon wearing seat belts, students and teachers are assessing other students who drive. “To date, we have conducted two unannounced seat belt checks in the morning at Tallwood, to assess our students use of seat belts. We will conduct a check a little later in the year to determine the success of our promotional efforts to increase seat belt use,” says Richardson.

Other faculty members and students are involved with this challenge too. This year is Coach Richardson’s first year helping with the program but Mrs. Platte, a Tallwood Health and PE teacher, has been running the program for some time. Additionally, Mia Sonnenberg has helped with the seat belt checks in the morning.

Even the community has involved themselves in this program. Jim McElligott, with the Virginia Beach Police Dept. and Pierre Grange, with State Farm, participate as the community liaisons. They help supervise the checks and provide guidance to increase seat belt at our school. This demonstrates Tallwood’s connection to the community in order to promote safety and buckled up driving for their students.

This program has relation to the “Every 15 Minutes” which stages a mock car crash that centers around impaired and distracted driving, which Officer McElligott is in charge of. These two programs, involving themselves in Tallwood this school year, should display a step towards safety, especially safe driving, among the Tallwood students.