Schools Transportation

New Hope-Solebury High School Wins Seatbelt Safety Challenge

The high schoolers won a recent challenge.

Credit: TMA Bucks

New Hope-Solebury High School has emerged as the overall winner of the 17th Annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge.

The school achieved an unprecedented 98 percent seatbelt usage rate among its student drivers, the highest ever recorded since the challenge began in 2007, according to TMA Bucks, a nonprofit transportation management agency.

The program, which involves 20 other high schools from Bucks County, saw New Hope-Solebury High School not only claim the title but also a $500 cash grant and a trophy plaque.

The awards were presented during their “Lions Pride” award assembly on Monday afternoon.

This year’s award marks the school’s fifth victory, having previously won in the 2010-11, 2015-16, 2018-19, and 2021-22 editions of the challenge.

“Congratulations to New-Hope Solebury students for not only winning this year but for achieving the highest percentage ever at 98 percent since this challenge started in 2007,” said TMA Bucks Executive Director Stephen Noll. “Overall, all participating schools should be extremely proud as for nine consecutive years all school’s showed an increase in usage from fall to spring. The combined average of all schools also came in at an impressive 93 percent, tying our highest combined average ever.”

Student government leaders, under the guidance of teacher Jon Gonsiewski, played a pivotal role in promoting the seatbelt use by distributing “LifeSavers” mints to drivers wearing seatbelts during school dismissals.

“Winning the seatbelt challenge is more than just winning a contest — I love our commitment to protecting ourselves and each other and recognizing how important this is to keep our loved ones safe. Keep up the great work of buckling up,” Gonsiewski said.

Additionally, teacher Drew Giorgi’s video productions class contributed to the campaign by creating a Teen Driver Safety Video PSA.

Neshaminy High School also earned accolades and achieved the greatest increase in seatbelt usage—a rise from 90 percent to 94 percent.

The school’s “Interact Club,” led by teacher Suzi Drake, will receive a cash grant and plaque for their efforts.

The Seatbelt Safety Challenge, which began with baseline surveys in fall 2023 to gauge initial seatbelt use, encourages schools to creatively promote seatbelt safety throughout the academic year.

Follow-up surveys conducted in April and May determined the winning schools based on improvements in usage, according to TMA Bucks.

This year’s challenge had a number of sponsors, including AAA Mid-Atlantic, Automotive Training Center, Bucks County Community College, Jefferson Bucks Hospital, Bowman, Stark and Stark, and Visit Bucks County, alongside presenting sponsor NJM Insurance Group.

“NJM Insurance Group is proud to be the presenting sponsor of this year’s TMA Bucks Seatbelt Challenge,” said Erica Rosso, NJM consumer safety partnership and program supervisor. “According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, using a seatbelt can help reduce the risk of fatal injury for drivers and front-seat passengers by 60 percent which is why contests such as these are crucial in spreading awareness.”

In related news, Central Bucks High School East won the Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge for the second consecutive year, demonstrating the enduring impact of such initiatives on driving safety awareness among students across Bucks County.

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