The Nebraska Safety Council has partnered with Drive Start Nebraska to develop a new statewide campaign to raise awareness about the importance of always buckling up.
Their message, “For Salena. Buckle Up.” hits strongly here in Scotts Bluff County. 17-year-old Salena Cochrane was killed in a May, 2014 car accident, and was not wearing a seat belt.
Last June , the Department of Transportation reported that 100 percent of the 2016 teen fatalities were not buckled up as well.
Salena’s parents, Dick Cochrane and Trisha Garcia, have been advocates ever since their daughter’s life was claimed at such a young age. They say they are honored to be able to use a tragedy to convey a positive message.
“I am honored that they asked us to use Seatbelts for Salena,” says Garcia. “I think our goal- any parents goal- is to work to make sure that your child’s memory is never forgotten.”
The goal of the campaign is to increase the usage of seat belts and reduce the number of fatal crashes. Scotts Bluff County has a seat belt usage rate of only 66 percent, and ranks in the top five in Nebraska for fatal crashes.
In the coming weeks and months, there will be safety messages on billboards, on the radio, and on social media around the state utilizing the message, “For Salena. Buckle Up.”