Seat belt check at high schools at more than 89 percent use

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, December 28, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - What's the first thing you should do when you get into the front seat of a car?
Before you even turn on the engine, adjust the mirrors and tune the radio to your favorite station. You should fasten your seatbelt.
Officer Kevin Kosten of the Niles City Police Department along with Trooper Rob Herbstreith of the Michigan State Police, Niles post, wanted to see how local high school students do at buckling up when they are in the front seat of a vehicle.
In November, Kosten and Herbstreith conducted random seat belt checks at both Niles and Brandywine high schools to see how many students were using the belts.
Data collected through the seatbelt challenge shows of the 229 vehicles checked at Niles High School, 307 of the front seat passengers should have been wearing their seatbelt. Two-hundred and seventy-five of them were, which results in 89.5 percent of them wearing the belts.
At Brandywine High School, 253 vehicles were checked by the officers. Four-hundred and thirty-six individuals should have been wearing their seatbelts and 396 of them were. Brandywine beat Niles with 90.8 percent wearing their seatbelts.
The checks also took place at Buchanan, Berrien Springs, Eau Claire, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Dowagiac high schools.
One of the advantages to wearing a seatbelt while traveling in a vehicle is it can save your life or keep you from being seriously injured in a crash, he added.
The Niles City Police Department and the Niles Michigan State Police Post aren't the only ones who have been doing the random seatbelt checks, departments across the state of Michigan.
He said in the future they are hoping to have some sort of incentive for those who are wearing their belts when checked.
Kosten added that all of the schools where checks were done need some work, but the numbers they found were alright seeing as they didn't know what to expect when they initially started the program.