Lynnville-Sully’s partnership with SAFE Program delivers significant safety improvements

Lynnville-Sully’s student and school resource officer-led SAFE Program will be highlighted at the Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Conference this summer thanks to the role it played in significantly improving seatbelt use among L-S students over the course of the 2022-23 school year.

SAFE  – Seatbelts Are For Everyone – is a student-led program for high schoolers that focuses on peer-to-peer promotion of traffic safety. This past school year, Lynnville-Sully Honor Society students have made it their mission to help improve the safety of students on the road. L-S School Resource Officer Deputy Corey Van Kooten has helped the students lead the charge on the important safety initiative. Under Deputy Van Kooten’s leadership and with his connections, SAFE students have conducted driver surveys and monthly training hitting on various safety topics, and the students have been exposed to a variety of interactive tools and presentations  to drive home the safety initiative. Deputy Van Kooten has partnered with the Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau to bring these important tools to the school.

“This year we used the ThinkFast Interactive, fatal vision goggles, Honda driving simulator, ISP seatbelt convincer, and sidewalk chalk messages as a few of our more popular ways to educate the students on seatbelt safety and distracted driving,” said Deputy Van Kooten.

All of the efforts of Deputy Van Kooten and the SAFE leaders have paid off, according to recent survey results. Lynnville-Sully’s first seatbelt survey conducted in the fall showed 67.19% of the students were belted in upon arrival to school, and 5.15% of the students were driving distracted. The most recent survey conducted at the end of May showed significant improvement. The number of students wearing a seatbelt upon entering school grounds jumped 20% to 87.25%. And the number of distracted students also dropped to 3.38%.

“I think the results show for themselves the value of the program, and I’m looking forward to next year again bringing SAFE to our students,” said Deputy Van Kooten.

The efforts of Deputy Van Kooten and L-S students leading the SAFE Program received high praise from Cathy Slade, Iowa SAFE Program specialist, who plans to share Lynnville-Sully’s results at the safety conference this summer.

SAFE is a program developed by the DCCCA (Developing Caring Communities Committed to Action) in 2008 to increase teen restraint compliance through education, positive rewards, and enforcement. The program started in Kansas, expanded to Oklahoma and Missouri in 2014 and 2016, and became available to Iowa students in 2021. The 2022-23 school year marked the first year the SAFE Program has been part of a safety initiative at L-S. Deputy Van Kooten, along with L-S Honor Society students, are excited to continue to bring the important safety topics to the forefront in the coming years. Information about  SAFE can be found at

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