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Clearwater Police Seat Belt Campaign Focuses on Countryside High School

Seat Belts | Buckle Up | Driving Safety

The Clearwater Police Department, along with the Anthony Telesca Foundation and Students Against Destructive Decisions, will be conducting a seat-belt safety campaign Monday (March 23) at Countryside High School.

CLEARWATER – A seat belt safety campaign will kick off Monday (March 23) at Countryside High School, just days before Pinellas public school students let out for spring break. At dismissal time Monday afternoon, Clearwater Police officers and AmeriCorps members will be handing out different candies based on what they observe with students in their cars. Those wearing seat belts will receive Smarties candy. Those who are not buckled up will get Dum Dums suckers – and a reminder to buckle up.

“We’re hopeful that we will hand out a lot more Smarties than Dum Dums,” said Cathi Long, the school’s resource officer. “Spring break is a time when students will be driving even more than usual. We want them to stay safe when they’re out with their friends.”

Studies have shown that teenagers and young adults have the lowest seat belt usage of any age group, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Studies also show that the majority of young people involved in fatal crashes in recent years are unbuckled, the agency says.

“It takes just a second for someone to put on their seat belt,” Long said. “That second can mean the difference between life and death, whether you’re 17 or 70.”

The police department is partnering with the Anthony Telesca Foundation for the event. That is a local group dedicated to teaching teenagers how to drive safely. Anthony Telesca died in December 2000 at the age of 16 when he was killed in a single-vehicle accident.  For information, see

Clearwater Police Department | Countryside High School | Seat Belts

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