Survey says: Teens are buckling up
Nov. 22, 2004
Audrey Partington
Gazette Youth Press

Marie Lyon/Gazette Youth Press

Project Change co-president Sarika Tamaskar conducts a seat belt check at Sherwood High School.

Project Change members are buckling down on seat belt use

The vast majority of Sherwood High School student drivers and their passengers are buckling up for safety, according to the results of a recent random sampling conducted by Project Change, an Olney area teen-led organization seeking to improve teen health and safety. This is the third annual seat belt check Project Change has conducted at Sherwood.

On the afternoon of Oct. 20, Project Change members Sarika Tamaskar, Baboucarr Jallow, Marie Lyon and William Cheung surveyed 241 student drivers and passengers leaving the Sherwood High School parking lot in 133 cars. More than 87 percent of the students were wearing their seat belts, including 92 percent of the drivers, 68 percent of front seat passengers and 65 percent of back seat passengers.

The results compare favorably with last year's survey, which found 70 percent of the students were buckled up, including 80 percent of drivers, 57 percent of front seat passengers and 35 percent of back seat passengers.

However, Project Change adult adviser Stephanie Bryn suggests "cautious optimism" in view of the recent wave of car crashes involving county youth.

"Montgomery County is under the spotlight now," said Bryn, director for Injury and Violence Prevention in the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Project Change youths were trained to conduct the seat belt survey at meetings sponsored by the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). Members of Project Change have made presentations to NOYS, 4-H Clubs, the American School Health Association, the National Safe Kids Conference and other venues to outline what the organization is doing to improve youth safety in the Olney area.

"I want to thank the Project Change youths who took the time to be trained, conduct the survey and tally the results," Bryn said. "By reminding students to buckle up, they have furthered our group's mission to keep teens safe and healthy."