Saved by The Belt
All too often the news is bleak when reporting traffic crashes. Most crashes that the public hears about involve fatalities or serious injuries. This ceremony is to reward those individuals who survived a serious crash with very little injury because they did the right thing and buckled up, wore a motorcycle helmet, or buckled their children properly.
Each year, dozens of crashes are virtually unnoticed in our community. Some of the most horrific looking crashes are cleared from the roadways yearly and the occupants of those vehicles go on to live their lives. This is due to the fact that they were buckled up, and they had their children properly restrained in child safety seats.
Research has shown that lap/shoulder belts, when properly used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury was 50 percent. Driver restraint use is the strongest predictor of child restraint use. In addition to the emotional toll that injuries and deaths put on family members, there is a large financial burden attached to traffic crashes involving injury.
Wearing a safety belt is your best defense against the actions of another driver, or your own actions.
The individuals receiving recognitions for being Saved by the Belt or Helmet gladly tell their stories, and urge everyone to buckle their safety belts or wear a helmet on every ride.
Saved by The Belt and Helmet– Steps to conduct an awards ceremony
- Working with local and state law enforcement, determine which crashes warrant consideration. The crash should involve someone who, by no fault of their own, was in a crash and was saved from injury because they wore their seat belt, wore a helmet, or properly had their child restrained.
- Find a location/time/date that works for everyone.
- Get permission to contact this individual. In some cases you may need to convince the person to participate and receive recognition.
- Send invitations to individuals, inviting their families to come if possible. Also, invite local dignitaries (Mayor, Council persons, etc…) and anyone else that you feel would be beneficial to invite.
- Give media plenty of notice. The purpose of the ceremony is two-fold: to recognize someone for doing the right thing AND to educate the community about the importance of seat belts and helmets through the media. The media enjoys this type of ceremony because they get tired of always reporting tragedies.
- Create certificates to be handed out to all crash “survivors”. In some cases it may only be one person…..that is OK. It still makes an impact. (see sample certificate)
- Type a brief synopsis of each story and have the emcee (perhaps top law enforcement official from the investigating department) read each story and then present the certificate. In some cases this type of ceremony can be held at a community event such as a home basketball half-time, City Council meeting, or a County Fair (especially, if it is in a small community).
Refreshments are always welcome.