Council Rock High School North in Newtown Township has emerged as the overall winner of the 16th Annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge, while also showcasing the greatest percentage increase.
The announcement was made Tuesday by TMA Bucks, the transportation management nonprofit behind the event, which aims to promote seatbelt usage and enhance road safety awareness among high school students.
Outperforming 20 other participating high schools in Bucks County, Council Rock High School North student drivers secured the highest overall seatbelt usage rate, with an impressive 97 percent compliance.
The students demonstrated the most significant percentage increase in seatbelt usage across all schools, improving from 93 percent in the fall to an outstanding 97 percent in the spring.
The Council Rock High School North Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group was presented with two $500 cash grants and two perpetual trophy plaques during their meeting on Monday.
The cash prizes, donated by TMA Bucks, are intended to be utilized by the school for safety-related purposes.
Expressing his appreciation for the students’ dedication and leadership, TMA Bucks executive director Stephen Noll congratulated the students, stating: “Congrats to the students who really stepped up to be leaders in their school community and stress the importance to their peers about making the right choice to buckle up.”
Throughout the school year, the Council Rock High School North SADD group actively promoted the Seatbelt Challenge, spearheading awareness campaigns to emphasize the significance of seatbelt usage. Leading the charge were Cole McCarthy (President), Kathryn McCarthy (Co-Vice President), Francesca Madden (Co-Vice President), Reese Reidenbach (Secretary), and Emma Townsend (Treasurer), under the guidance of teacher Danielle Holsey.
“I was so happy to hear that we won this year’s Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge,” said Holsey. “SADD has been working toward this for about 10 years now! I’m grateful for the time and focus that this year’s group put into the event.”
Ben Battiste, an English department teacher, also contributed to the promotion of the challenge by encouraging his students to create a video for the Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge, a Comcast-sponsored segment of the competition.
The data collection process for the challenge involved conducting baseline surveys on seatbelt usage by student drivers in Fall 2022, without the knowledge of the student body or administration, to ensure accurate data sampling. Following this, schools were tasked with raising seatbelt usage and participating in the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge. Throughout the school year, various student groups at each participating school actively promoted the Seatbelt Challenge through creative initiatives. Unannounced follow-up surveys were conducted in April and May to determine the winning schools.