Schools across York County will encourage high school students to buckle up in April for a contest that aims to create safe habits for drivers.

Eight high schools in the county are participating in the third annual York/Adams High School Seat Belt Challenge, hosted by the Center for Traffic Safety. Students will wear their seatbelts to compete for a free photo booth at their graduation or post-prom party.

This is the first year Kennard-Dale High School, in the South Eastern district, will participate. A baseline tally from the center in February showed 74 percent of drivers at the high school wore their seat belts, said assistant principal Zane Fake.

The school thought it should do what it could to encourage its student population to be 100 percent, Fake said.

In an effort to boost students' seatbelt usage rate, the school decided to join the competition. There have been promotions on the high school's morning announcements, Fake said, telling students about the second official tally this month.

Below state average: About 83 percent of drivers in Pennsylvania wear their seatbelt, said Laura Fagan, traffic safety specialist with the Center for Traffic Safety. Seatbelt usage at surveyed high schools in York and Adams counties is between 59 and 89 percent, mostly below the state average.

Fagan said the challenge aims to increase that number. The center awards two schools in the contest. One will win for having the highest percentage of seatbelt use, and another will win for the highest increase in usage over the contest duration.


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On top of the photo booths for each winning school, they will receive a $500 mini-grant from State Farm Insurance to promote traffic safety.

Last year, West York was honored as the school with the largest increase in seat belt use. South Western and Spring Grove high schools achieved the highest overall usage with 96 percent.