|By CELESTE BAUMGARTNER
TRENTON, Ohio — The Buckle Up or Eat Glass Safety Campaign will go on all next week at Edgewood High School, according to Cathy Minges of the Butler County Farm Bureau. It is prom week at the school.
Throughout the week activities are scheduled to emphasize safe driving - especially on rural roads.
“Each morning students will have a 15-minute in-school broadcast about safety and a safe driving program during lunch hour,” Minges said. “FFA, CCLA and Farm Bureau youths will hold demonstrations. Jim Jordan, OSU Extension, will be there.”
The idea for the campaign came from Farm Safety 4 Just Kids (FS4JK). Butler County Farm bureau is a charter member of that organization, which was started by a mom whose son was killed in a farm accident.
Gail Lierer, Butler County Farm Bureau safety coordinator, learned about the Buckle Up program from the FS4JK. She wrote a letter to the editor of the Journal-News about the program and about driving safely on rural roads especially in the presence of farm equipment.
Marty Schradler, regional manager from Rally Hamburgers, read that letter.
“That letter impressed him, and that got the ball rolling,” Minges said.
Kellie Warner, Edgewood High School/Butler Tech FFA advisor wanted to use the program at Edgewood and the idea took off.
Driving safely on the roads in the presence of farm equipment will be emphasized all week, Lierer said.
“That’s a major problem in our area,” she said. “People do not want to slow down for farm equipment, so we’re trying to get that message across. Many people don’t even recognize the ‘slow-moving vehicle’ sign.”
One day will feature a surprise seatbelt check as students leave school for the day. The goal is to reward the drivers who are wearing their seatbelts and practicing safe-driving methods. They will receive prizes such as cup holders, T-shirts and Rally Hamburger coupons.
“It’s not so much to get down on the kids who are not wearing seatbelts but more of a positive impact rewarding kids who are doing it,” Minges said.
Statistics show that kids in rural areas are less likely to wear seatbelts, Minges said.
On Thursday, the group will set up a visual demonstration that will re-enforce rural road safety, Minges said.
On Friday a “crashed car” will be on-site from ODOT. Students in the car will be dressed for a prom. It’s for the shock value, Minges said.
“That’s where this is a wake-up call,” Minges said. “They think because they live out in the country and travel on back roads that nothing is going to happen.”
OFBF is looking at the safety campaign as a possible pilot program next year, Minges said.
“This has come together and may build into a bigger thing in the future,” she said.
Many organizations have stepped up to support the campaign in addition to Rally’s: Butler County and Ohio Farm Bureaus, OSU, the Butler County Safe Communities Coalition, Carteens, ODOT and others.
This farm news was published in the May 10, 2006 issue of Farm World.