Idaho teens honored as Battle of the Belts winners

In 2019, more than one out of every five crashes in Idaho involved a teen driver. We all know seat belts save lives, and who better for teens to hear that message from than their peers? The Idaho Office of Highway Safety’s annual Battle of the Belts competition just wrapped up with three deserving students honored. It’s a creative contest encouraging high school students to create their own seat belt safety campaigns to share with classmates. See some of this year’s entries in the gallery below.

Thanks to a partnership with State Farm Insurance, winners receive scholarship money to help fund their future education plans. Over the last month OHS Grants Officer Tabitha Smith had the pleasure of touring the state to surprise this year’s top three winners with their giant checks. The students’ reactions of shock and happiness were all caught on camera as their proud parents, school counselors, and OHS helped celebrate.

First place $2,500 winner Paige Tolman just finished her junior year at Vallivue’s Ridgevue High School. She used posters on campus, safety demonstrations at football and basketball games, and other activities asking students to buckle up.

“I worked pretty hard on this so I’m glad I was able to make a difference,” Tolman said. “I was able to learn the importance of seat belts as well as distracted driving, just how important it is and to help others be safe in that way.”

Amelia Jobe from Boise High School was the second place winner. She will use her $2,000 scholarship next year at Boise State studying computer science. Amelia’s Bernie Sanders meme was an instant hit among her classmates.

“I made a social media post about wearing your seatbelt. It was basically that Bernie Sanders meme and said ‘If Bernie can buckle up, so can you.’ It was a post that was really current at the time to encourage teen drivers to wear seat belts. I think it’s a really small ask that can make a difference in people’s lives especially if you have a car accident. It can be the difference between life and death,” Jobe said.

Third place $1,500 winner Mattie Drobish is graduating from Orofino Junior-Senior High School and heads to Lewis-Clark State College next year to study nursing. She created a billboard design with seat belt statistics.

“I know friends and family who have lost their lives by driving without a seatbelt, accidents happen you never know, so it’s crazy important to me and my family. I think it’s a great message to share and it’s great to be a part of this scholarship and actually be able to push that and say ‘Hey wear your seatbelt it’s so important,’” Drobish said.

The Battle of the Belts scholarship contest continues to grow with more participation each year. This year more than 20 high school students entered their work. Congratulations!