Health & Wellness

May 31, 2013 11:14 AM by Simone DeAlba (Great Falls)

GFHS teacher takes student safety to heart

Jerry Olson, a teacher at Great Falls High School, has started a state-wide initiative to encourage responsible habits from the get-go with new drivers.

Olson said, "It's kind of disturbing, I've been outside for parking lot duty before, after school mostly, and watching kids driving by without their seatbelts on."

So he developed seatbelt signs personalized for each high school, and they've since caught on state-wide.

Austin Faulkner, a senior at GFHS, learned the lesson the hard way after rolling his vehicle; he recalled, "I had three passengers in my car."

By taking a few extra seconds to buckle up it could mean the difference between life and death. Austin and his three passengers owe their lives to a seatbelt. All survived the accident.

Austin said, "It's scary because there have been people who have gone to school here who weren't wearing their seatbelts and lost their lives."

But not all students are so easily convinced

Zach Devlin said, "I don't know, I just don't wear seatbelts, I just feel like if I'm going to wreck, it's going to end me either way."

And that's exactly why Olson decided to make these signs, for students like Zach; he says even if it saves one life it will be well worth the effort.

Olson said, "Our drivers ed programs throughout the state are really trying to do everything they can to train and teach students to be very safe drivers."

High schools across Montana are making every effort to keep their kids safe, and so far, more than 150 signs have been sold.

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