May 11, 2017
By Ed Byrne
The Brillion News
WRIGHTSTOWN – When students at Wrightstown High School pull into the parking lot, or pull out at the end of the school day, they’re getting a reminder from fellow students and a couple of people with badges and guns: “Buckle up.”
It’s a part of a campaign funded by a federal grant to the Brown County Sheriff’s Department. The initiative is called “Survive the Hit, Buckle Up Brown.”
Deputy Sheriff Jessica Smith, the school’s resource officer, says it takes a couple of weeks for a good habit to take hold, so the students are running the seat belt checks at the parking lot entrances and exits for three weeks.
“We’re hoping to send a message that everyone buckles up,” senior Ben Klister said.
They should buckle up, too, because the sheriff’s department traffic enforcement team and village police officers are lurking a couple of blocks away with their ticket books warmed up.
“The first day, we only had a few people [who weren’t buckled up] and the second day we had hardly any, maybe one or two, which is a huge improvement,” Klister said. “We hope everyone takes it seriously … But we don’t tell them there’s cops waiting for them.”
Every driver gets a ticket-sized fact sheet that makes a strong point: traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. Not using seat belts is one factor; the others are inexperience behind the wheel and dangerous driving behavior.
“A lot of kids take other kids home, too, so we check them to make sure they’re buckled up too,” Derek Zwick said.
Under state law, the driver isn’t in trouble when a passenger refuses to use the seat belt.
“The driver shouldn’t be responsible for making the passengers buckle up,” Zwick said. “They should be smart enough to do it themselves.”
Gary Wall said he’s in the habit of buckling up, regardless of the distance.
Please see the complete story in the May 11, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.