Since 2002, nine teenagers have died behind the wheel in Tallahassee. The Battle of the Belts is one way to encourage teens to make a potentially lifesaving choice by pulling that belt over their shoulder and clicking it into place.
Tallahassee police did spot checks at 10 Leon County high schools. They found about 75 percent of those teens buckled up, but it made a big difference where you went to school.
Elizabeth Sheward, a Maclay High School junior, says, "We're just fortunate that most of our parents have taught us from when we were little to put on our seat belts, and it is surprising that a lot of people aren't doing that."
Maclay school won the Battle of the Belts. More than 87 percent of its students buckle up. Lincoln was the most improved during the school year with just over 73 percent, and FAMU High had the lowest seat belt usage of all with just 65 percent of drivers clicking in.
Jana Miller, whose friend was killed in a car wreck, says, "Derek and I were both ejected from the vehicle, and Derek, of course, lost his life. I am lucky to be walking and alive."
No one knows the pain of not buckling up better than Jana Miller. She lost one of her best friends in a car wreck last year.
Nineteen-year-old Derek Biggs was Joe Biggs' son.
Joe says, “I set a very poor example for my son because I didn't wear a seat belt very often. If I had set a better example, he'd probably be here today."
The law firm of Fonveille, Lewis, Foote and Messer teams up with the Tallahassee Police Department each year for the Battle of the Belts, offering prize money in a lighthearted contest designed to avoid gut wrenching tragedy.
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