The Return of the Seatbelt Challenge


Joshua Engman, Staff Writer

On Thursday, May 18th, Officer Smith led a Seatbelt Challenge competition outside door six during lunch periods. The competition is designed to be a fun group activity and to “promote seatbelt safety.” All willing students and staff were encouraged to participate in the competition of which the members of the winning team will be awarded prizes. Participants signed up ahead of time with Officer Smith or on the day of the competition. There was no entrance fee to compete, but you had to have a team of four people.

This is the first year since 2019 and the Covid Pandemic that Mayo High School offered the Seatbelt Challenge again. The event used to be a big competition, in which winners from the different high schools could advance to regional competitions and further. The Seatbelt Challenge is put on by schools and law enforcement agencies around the nation. For Officer Smith, who hosts the competition, it is a “fun way to encourage people to wear seatbelts,” because “seatbelts save lives.”

Seatbelt Challenge Rules  

  1. Teams will include 4 participants
  2. One observer and one timer is needed for each vehicle being used in the competition.   
  3. Each team will be timed based on the following:   
    1. Student starts buckled into their seat.   
    2. When all are buckled the observer will blow a whistle signifying that students are to unbuckle, get out move to the next position in the vehicle, in a clockwise direction. Timer will start the clock on the blowing of the whistle. 
    3. Once students are in the next seated position, and are buckled, they need to raise their hands.  
    4. When all students are buckled with their hands raised, the observer will yell out “CHECK”. 
    5. The word “CHECK” indicates that all are able to unbuckle and move to the next position.    
    6. This will continue until each person is buckled back in their original seat.
    7. Students will start and end in the same seated and buckled position.
    8. The observer will blow the whistle at the completion of the event signaling the timer to stop the clock.
    9. Finish time will be recorded after each attempt, maximum of two attempts will be allowed, unless other teams have not had a chance to participate.  
    10. The fastest recorded times will be awarded a prize. 

After the invention of the three-point seatbelt in 1959 and its introduction to passenger cars, Americans were skeptical and stubborn, refusing to wear them ( Once seatbelts were mandated by the Supreme Court, many Americans still rejected the safety device and decried the law as government overreach. The widespread disregard for seatbelts continued as late as the 1980’s when “only about 10% of Americans wore seatbelts when riding in a car” (

Nowadays, seatbelt usage statistics are much better, with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reporting that the 2021 usage rate was at 92.4%. However, in 2020, 105 of the 394 traffic fatalities in Minnesota could be attributed to unbelted motorists ( The simple act of buckling up will not only save your life but may also keep you from paying upwards of 100 dollars in ticketing fees ( According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash” (

Historically, young adults between the ages of 16 and 29 are the least likely group of people to wear seatbelts, which is partly why this educational competition is so important to help persuade and convince high school students to buckle up. In Minnesota, young adults were the “only age group below the overall average” of 92.4% in 2021 (

Special thanks go out to Mr. Yahye Admed for sharing all of his photos of the event.