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Students buckle up, win cars

April 25, 2008 3:51:02 PM PDT
A suburban program that uses positive reinforcement to get high schoolers to buckle up just made two students the owners of brand new cars.

You wear your seatbelt, you win a car! Crystal Lake South is one of 12 high schools participating in Operation Click, a program that rewards teen drivers for buckling up.

"We have all the laws in place, but are the laws working? No, we have too many teen fatalities, so this is a totally different approach for our teen drivers," said Officer Sean McGrath, Crystal Lake Police.

Students sign a contract saying they will wear a seatbelt and not get any moving violations or any alcohol offenses during the school year.

"I always tell them we are not going anywhere until you put on your seatbelt, because it's my car and it's my responsibility," said Liz Agnes, Crystal Lake South H.S. student.

"The best thing about the program, it's really student driven, student involvement, and it really promotes positive choices and decisions," said Vice Principal Joe Cole, Crystal Lake South H.S.

The students form a committee. They ask local businesses to donate gas cards, coffee, pizza, and other rewards that are given to students who buckle up.

"We've gone out a couple times this year, going out into the parking lot with people, some people when I turn around they snap their seatbelts like saying, look I'm wearing it, so I always give them prizes," said Nick Pyan, Crystal Lake H.S. South Operation Click.

At the end of the school year, if the seatbelt compliance rate is 90 percent or more, the students are eligible to win a new car. Finalists are randomly chosen and given keys, but they don't all fit.

"Dude, I totally didn't expect it," said Ryan Landin, Operation Click car winner.

"Oh my God! I wanted to just put it in drive and go now," said Brenda Grams, Operation Click car winner.

Next year 33 high schools, from McHenry, Lake, Cook and Champaign counties, are on board for Operation Click. The hope is to take the program statewide...and beyond.

There were no traffic fatalities this year in the high schools involved in Operation Click.

If you'd like more information, log on to www.operationclick.org or call (815) 790-0920.


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