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East Union students ace Click It safety test
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Click it or ticket.

The East Union High received a top mark from the State of California Office of Traffic Safety – via a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – scoring 100 percent in a recent survey to determine seal belt usage among teenage motorists.

The Manteca Unified site was one of 100 high schools selected by the California State University, Fresno Foundation.

Data collectors conducted the survey after school at East Union during the fall. They observed drivers and passengers at the entrances of the parking lots to see if local high schoolers had their seat belts clicked in.

The state-wide surveys indicated that the combined seat belt usage rate for all drivers was at 95.7 percent and 91.1 percent for high school students.

East Union driver’s education instructor Anthony Liberato credited the efforts of both Lt. Nick Obligacion of the Manteca Police Department and Sgt. Gary Burlingame of the California Highway Patrol in Tracy.

“They promoted safe driving habits amongst our teenagers,” he said.

 Another survey is planned for the end of August or the middle of December with the sites yet to be determined, according to program coordinator Raul Betancourt.

Since the first “Click it or Ticket” enforcement campaign in 1993, NHTSA noted that seat belt use nationwide increased from 60 percent to 84 percent. Still, about 45 million Americans risk their lives by failing to regularly buckle up when driving or riding in motor vehicles.

NHTSA’s latest data also revealed that 70 percent of the passengers killed in traffic accidents as a result of not buckling up were between the ages of 13 and 15. That’s the highest percentage of all age groups.

Forty-five million Americans are still not buckling up when riding in motor vehicles, NHTSA reported.

From May 24 through June 6, some 10,000 police agencies took part in the “Click it or Ticket” campaign, with the goal to increase seat belt use and save lives.