Health Science Center wins U.S. award for seat belt survey results

Michelle Price, director of the South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center, presented the Health Science Center’s National Buckle Up America Award to top administrators recently. Pictured left to right with Price are James Kazen, executive vice president for administration; Robert Bratten, chief of university police; and Michael Charlton, Ph.D., director of environmental health and safety.

The Health Science Center has won the National Buckle Up America Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Health Science Center’s South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center conducted two unannounced surveys of campus motorists to observe the percentage wearing seat belts. Of the 1,000 drivers and passengers observed arriving on the first occasion, 95 percent were buckled up. On the second occasion, 93 percent were buckled up.

“As health care and related professionals, the employees of the Health Science Center are keenly aware of the need to wear their seat belts, which is why we weren’t surprised by the encouraging study results,” said Michelle Price, director of the South Texas Injury Prevention and Research Center. “Our many campus visitors also demonstrated great attention to seat belt safety.”

Texas has a primary seat belt enforcement law. “This means that in Texas motorists can be pulled over just for not wearing seat belts,” Price said.

As spring break nears for young drivers, alcohol consumption is sure to play a major role in traffic accidents and fatalities. Surveys show 20 percent of Texas motorists do not routinely wear their seat belts.

“You might say, ‘Drunk driving doesn’t have anything to do with me,’ but it does,” Price said. “Your best defense against a drunk driver is wearing your seat belt and making sure your children are correctly harnessed in a booster seat or rear-facing infant seat.”

It is estimated that 90 percent of child car seats are installed incorrectly. Free information on correct installation is available at University Hospital, (210) 358-4272.

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