Wear your seat belt
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Mazzy Mickey, left, and Mackenzie Light, demonstrate where children should sit inside a car. They are third-grade students at Mahoning Elementary School.
Elementary students in Lehighton Area School District learned why it was so important to wear their seat belt when they are a passenger in a car.
Carol Alonge, Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project (PAADEEP), recently brought the safety program, "The Back is Where it's At," to the students at Shull David and Mahoning elementary schools.
Alonge used a video of crash dummies involved in car accidents to emphasize the importance of buckling up.
"You will see the seat bend when the car crashes," warned Alonge. While the video vividly portrayed a crash scene, it lacked sound effects and injured people, but still sent a strong message to help children see that wearing a seat belt would likely save their lives.
"You're safer buckled up in a seat belt," said Alonge. "See how the crash dummy was thrown because he was not restrained?"
She also noted that young children are safer in the back seat in child safety seats and that older children are also safer in a rear seat.
"You may need a booster seat if the strap cuts your neck," she said.
She also showed a crash scene with crash dummies restrained with seat belts.
"A child sitting in the front seat with an air bag would be injured by an air bag," she said. "Children should sit in the rear seat." She noted that the safest place for a baby would be in the rear seat with a rear-facing safety seat. The baby is lying down and that is why a baby would be safer in a rear facing safety seat."
She also warned the children of causing distractions to the driver while they are a passenger.
"When you start a disagreement with another child in the car, it is called a distraction," she said. "When this happens, the driver is not watching the road because they are looking in the back of the car. You need to not cause distractions so the driver can keep their eyes on the road."
She then demonstrated a crash scene using two eggs, with the "driver" egg restrained and his "passenger" egg not restrained. She pushed the white convertible with the two eggs inside against a fallen chair "obstacle" and both eggs were damaged. The passenger egg flew into the driver egg and both eggs were cracked.
The exercise had an impact on third grade students, who watched with interest as the eggs broke.
The children asked a few questions, wondering why they were not restrained on the school bus.
Alonge explained that children in school buses were "compartmentalized" and that, as a whole, drivers usually drive safer around school buses, which helps keep children safer.
The Pennsylvania Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project (PAADEEP) is a statewide initiative that utilizes crash data to identify aggressive driving locations.
High visibility target enforcement, coordinated earned media, public awareness and training are conducted on these roadways to reduce the number of needless aggressive driving injuries and deaths.
The partnership is comprised of municipal police departments and the Pennsylvania State Police.