By Jordan Green
MIAMI COUNTY — Representatives from across Miami County met at the Miami County Courthouse Plaza on Tuesday to kick off the Safe Communities Click It or Ticket event.
The event is a data-focused campaign that seeks to promote seat belt usage and other traffic safety measures in the Miami County. It is now in its seventh year thanks to annual grants from the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s Safe Communities program.
Wearing a seat belt while operating a motor vehicle reduces the risk of a fatal injury by 50%. However, in the Miami County, seat belt usage has gone down in recent years. In 2021 in 37% of fatal accidents, the victim was not wearing a seat belt.
“All of that could have been avoided by taking two seconds to put on a seat belt,” said Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. “We need the public’s help to get those numbers down.”
President of the Miami County Board of Commissioners Ted Mercer spoke at the event.
“On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I would like to thank the Ohio Department of Public Safety for this grant. We have 20 organizations working together in this coalition, including all local law enforcement agencies and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, to help make this community safe … the Board of Commissioners wishes everyone a safe, holiday weekend.”
Tuesday’s event also served to honor the winner of this year’s High School Safe Communities Seat Belt Challenge, Tippecanoe High School.
“For two weeks in the spring, the coalition goes out to local high schools, and we collect data on seat belt usage. It is a great opportunity for our program and law enforcement officers to engage with young drivers and encourage safe practices,” said Health Educator and Safe Communities Coordinator for Miami County Vicky Knisley-Henry.
This year’s contest was tightly contested. Tippecanoe won with a seat belt usage rate of 96.8%, and Miami East finished in a close second at 96.4%. As the winners, Tippecanoe High School will receive a banner and plaque in addition to bragging rights.
Officer Brad Kline of the Tipp City Police Department accepted the award on behalf of Tippecanoe High School.