Posted By: Camila Orti
More than 3,500 schools across the country, including six in Lincoln, are taking the challenge to become better drivers.
Pius X High School had an assembly Thursday to get everyone on board with the 'Celebrate My Drive' initiative powered by State Farm.
As part of the initiative, students take an online pledge to be safe drivers. The registered school with the highest numbers nationwide can win thousands of dollars in grant money or a Kelly Clarkson concert.
"We feel like if we can get the community and teens working together, there's a lot we can do here locally to save lives," State Farm Agent Rick Self said.
State troopers say there have been 51 deaths in Nebraska so far this year associated with not wearing a seat belt.
One of them was 15–year–old Taylon Artman, who was killed after being thrown from a vehicle near Waverly just a couple months ago.
At Pius, the assembly included videos, speakers and demonstrations emphasizing seat belt use and focused driving. Students say the message was clear.
"People are always like, it's not going to happen to me, but it could definitely happen to anyone and it gives us an example to really want to wear our seatbelt," student Kaitlin Vanloon said.
As part of the program, students and staff got to try the "seatbelt convincer," a machine that allows the rider to feel an impact going 7 miles per hour.
Other demos allowed kids to wear impairment goggles, simulating what it'd be like to drive (or do anything) intoxicated.
Students Alex Utrop and his brother Brandon tried playing basketball with the goggles on.
"It makes it obvious because you get this blurred vision and then you can't see at all," Alex said.
State farm agents say it's not about scaring kids, it's about celebrating safe driving.
If you want to make a commitment to safe driving and support a Lincoln school, go to celebratemydrive.com and click 'Join.'
Participants can vote once per day until Saturday Oct. 26. Winners are announced in December.