Tri-County Operation Cool is a teen-focused program developed to increase seatbelt usage through education and incentive awards. Twenty high schools, with approximately 10,000 students, in DeWitt, McLean and Livingston Counties in Illinois currently participate in the program.
In 1996 on State Police District 10 in East Central Illinois, 15 teens died in traffic accidents. Since Tri-County Operation Cool began in 1997, there have been more than 100 confirmed traffic crashes where serious injury or death was avoided because of seat belt use by a teenage driver.
Students are asked to sign contracts that state they will:
• Wear their seat belts at all times while operating or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle
• Ask their passengers to wear their seat belts at all times
• Not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• Not text or use a cell phone while driving
Surveys are conducted at each school in the fall and spring to determine seat belt usage rates pre and post program.
The program year ends with a Grand Finale where one student wins a brand new Mitsubishi Outlander Sport donated by Mitsubishi Motors North America. Additional sponsors make contributions for other prizes throughout the school year and during the finale. Prizes like laptop computers, dorm refrigerators, mp3 players, televisions, and gift cards are given away at the Grand Finale.
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