MADISON COUNTY —
In a scene from the popular 1960s-based TV show “Mad Men,” Betty Draper is driving her ’57 Ford Country Sedan with her children, Sally and Bobby, playing in the back seat.
Bobby giggles and climbs into the front seat as Mrs. Draper takes her eyes off the road to watch a neighbor unpacking. Bobby climbs into the back seat again.
Mrs. Draper loses feeling in her hands and her car runs into a concrete birdbath. The children were tossed onto the floorboards, but were still giggling, unharmed.
Thankfully, society is far removed from the safety standards of the 1950s and '60s, but the percentage of children observed at 11 local elementary schools, buckled correctly in the mornings, was just over half, 57.43 percent. The number improves to 68.57 percent as children leave in the afternoon.
As a rule, children must sit in the backseat if they are not a teenager, said Lloyd Jordison, coordinator of the Madison County Safety Coalition and a nurse with the health department.
All buckled passengers also must have the shoulder strap across their chest, instead of under their arm or behind their back, he said.
Last fall, Berea College nursing students stood at the entrance of local schools in the morning as students arrived and in the afternoon as they departed.
They were checking to see if the elementary-aged children were sitting in the back seat and whether they were buckled correctly. If the observers could not make a clear inspection, they did not record the data.
A total of 1,273 front/back seat observations and 1,230 seat belt observations were made.
One significant difference appeared in the results: More students were buckled correctly in the back seat as they were leaving school than when they arrived.
“One of the strategies used at schools is for teachers to stand outside and open the back door of the vehicle so students are encouraged to sit in the back seat,” Jordison said. “It does help when teachers open that back door.”
About 74 percent of students were sitting in the back seat in the afternoons compared to 64 percent in the morning.
This is an improvement, Jordison said. When the study began ten years ago, only about 50 percent of children were buckled correctly and were in the back seat.
“The reason we started this (study), we noticed when we were doing our car seat checks (at the health department), parents with good intentions were putting booster seats in the front,” he said. “We knew there was an education opportunity here.”
The safety coalition began sending flyers home to parents through the schools’ Family Resource & Youth Services Centers and placed between 30 and 40 yellow signs all around the county that read: “Always buckle children in the back seat.”
Some surrounding counties have followed their lead, Jordison said.
Overall seat belt usage in Madison County is now more than 80 percent, he said. And seat belt rates have improved with “Click it or Ticket” primary seat belt laws (officers can ticket a driver or passenger for not wearing a seat belt, without any other traffic offense taking place).
According to the National Safety Council, seat belt use averages 88 percent nationally (compared with 69 percent in 1998), but there are still groups less likely to wear seat belts: teens, commercial drivers, males in rural areas, pick-up truck drivers, people driving at night and people who have been drinking.
Seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives from 2004 to 2008 and 42 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2007 were unbelted, according to the National Safety Council.
That last 20 percent of unbelted drivers “might be a little harder to get,” Jordison said. “But that’s why we keep fighting the good fight.”
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com
or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.
MADISON COUNTY —
- Local News
Eggs fly at park
Easter has probably never been so “eggstravagant” in Richmond as it was Saturday during the annual Eggstravaganza in Irvine-McDowell Park.
For the first time, thousands of eggs were dropped, appropriately by an “eggbeater”-type helicopter, in addition to thousands of eggs already scattered on the grass below. Together, they numbered about 10,000, according to Erin Moore, Richmond Parks and Recreation director.
City awaits funds for Water Street project
Richmond city officials are still awaiting word on grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Water Street drainage project.
However, Mayor Jim Barnes said he is confident the money should come through by May 1.
Elementary schools built in ‘60s getting upgrades
Renovation of three Madison County elementary schools built in Richmond during the 1960s will start this summer.
The county school board voted Thursday to continue with the second phase of state paperwork required for the projects.
With a target completion date of August 2015, renovations and alterations at Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and White Hall elementary schools are estimated to cost almost $12 million.
KY 52 link to I-75 to be discussed May 13
While a proposed link from Nicholasville to Exit 95 on Interstate 75 north of Richmond has garnered attention and organized opposition, the state also is developing plans to link I-75 to another community to the west.
May 30 last school day for students
After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.
Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza
Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.
Ward honored for service; tech center named after him
Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.
Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts
A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.
Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.
Police apprehend burglary suspect
An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.
Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’
Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.
- More Local News Headlines
- Eggs fly at park