Sara O'Dell of Pryor, Okla., is the winner of the "Be Ready. Be Buckled" children's poster contest.
The contest, expected to become an annual event, is sponsored by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership, which includes the Department of Transportation, the American Trucking Associations and other safety partners.

Sara, whose father Dennis is a professional truck driver for Air Products and Chemicals out of Pryor, submitted a hand-drawn poster that conveyed the safety belt partnership message - that professional truck drivers need to "Be Ready. Be Buckled." Sara received a $1,000 savings bond and was recognized, along with her mother, in Washington D.C. on May 5 during North American Occupational Safety and Health Week.

"Safety belts save lives, and the poster contest was an excellent way to encourage and remind truck drivers and their passengers to always buckle up and instill in our children a lifelong safety habit," said John H. Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. "Whenever truck drivers see this winning poster, I hope they are reminded to 'Be Ready. Be Buckled,' because their families and children need them."

"The 'Be Ready. Be Buckled' poster contest highlights an important safety partnership between the trucking industry and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. "I congratulate Sara on creating the winning poster that helps inform professional truck drivers of the necessity of buckling up."

In 2003, the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership was created to combat low safety belt use among the nation's CMV drivers. In 2007, safety belt use among professional truck drivers has increased to 65 percent. Previous safety belt usage surveys conducted by the DOT also demonstrate the effectiveness of industry safety initiatives. In 2003 the survey found that only 48 percent of truck drivers wore safety belts, compared to 59 percent by 2006.

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