Alexa’s Hugs awarded a total of $2,600 to eight high schools in Larimer and Weld counties to mark their accomplishments for increasing seatbelt usage during the 2015/2016 school year.

Ten schools, spanning six school districts, accepted the Seat Belt Challenge in fall 2015. Staff and volunteers for
Alexa’s Hugs conducted unannounced, anonymous seat belt observations at local high schools at the end of a school
day. All passengers — parents and teens alike — were included in the observations at the beginning of the year. A
leadership team in each school (FCCLA, FFA, PEERS or Student Council) then developed and carried out a plan to
educate their peers about vehicle safety and encourage seat belt use and safe driving decisions. Another round of
observations was conducted at the end of the school year to measure progress.

Across the 10 participating schools there was a total 11.5% improvement in seat belt usage.

“Research shows that youth mimic the driving behaviors that family members have modeled to them for years. When
it comes to driving, that includes the good and the bad, so we want to focus on the positive and provide that
encouragement for overall safe driving,” said Jona Johnson, co-founder and executive director of Alexa’s Hugs.

Alexa’s Hugs collaborated with Safe Kids Larimer County to provide the program, with help from a Colorado
Department of Transportation Grant. Funding for the monetary prizes has been provided by a grant from Ford
Driving Skills for Life for the last two years.

“Peer to peer messaging has proven to be very successful in this seat belt challenge. We are thrilled with the results that we are seeing, always knowing that there is room for improvement.” said Tad Johnson, Alexa’s dad and co-founder of Alexa’s Hugs.

Here are the awards that were announced along with the impressive accomplishments of the winning schools.

Best Video Public Service Announcement

Most Improvement in Seat Belt Usage

  • Rocky Mountain High School – $500
  • Highland High School (25.5% improvement) – $500
  • Rocky Mountain High School (19.6% improvement) – $200
  • Estes Park High School (15.8% improvement) – $100
  • Greeley West High School (12.0% improvement) – $100
  • Loveland High School (11.8% improvement) – $100
  • Mountain View High School (11.2% improvement) – $100
  • Thompson Valley High School (11.1% improvement) – $100

Highest Seat Belt Usage

  • Rocky Mountain High School (88.4% seat belt usage) – $500
  • Loveland High School (86% seat belt usage) – $200
  • Estes Park High School (84.9% seat belt usage) – $100

Zero Cell Phone Distractions

  • Roosevelt High School (no drivers were using cell phones at spring observation) – $100