Teaching kids safety with a poster contest

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is sponsoring a FMCSA poster contest for kids between the ages of 5 and 12. The contest, entitled “Be Ready. Be Buckled. Ready for the Road Ahead,” is designed to heighten awareness of the need for truck and bus drivers to fasten their seat belt.

safety_belt.jpgFMCSA is asking eligible children to design a poster expressing their feelings on the following questions:

• Why is it important to buckle up while driving a truck, bus or other large vehicle?

• What does it mean to you for truck and bus drivers to buckle up while on the job?

• What would happen if a truck or bus driver did not buckle up while on the job?

Entries can be a painting, drawing, collage or other two-dimensional work and must be postmarked by Feb. 14, 2010. The winning kid will be recognized by OOIDA at the American Society of Safety Engineers North American Occupational Safety and Health Week in May 2010.

Winners, 12 in all including the first-place winners, will be chosen in two categories, K thru second grade and third through sixth grades.

If you have a child at home, this is a great opportunity to not only allow them to express their creative side, but also a teaching opportunity on the importance of wearing safety belts. A 2008 study found that only 72% of commercial motor vehicle operators wear safety belts. Frankly, in today’s society, that number is unacceptable.

Many people say that they are only putting themselves at risk by not wearing a seat belt. That’s baloney. They may be OK with putting their own life at risk, but the other people involved in a fatal crash, be they the driver or passengers, have to live with the fact that someone died in a crash in which they were involved. That is a life-changing moment that can tear a family apart.

But by teaching our kids to buckle up, we can prevent future families from going through the emotion and tragedy that a death brings. This contest is an excellent way to do that.

To enter, click here.

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