LAYTON -- Utah Highway Patrol troopers directed traffic Tuesday while Layton student body officers handed out Creamies to every student who was wearing their seat belt as they left the parking lot.
"Thanks for buckling up," said Ibrahim Siripathane, Layton High School student body president, as he handed out one Creamies ice cream bar after another to drivers and passengers.
At the beginning of the school year, UHP officers informally surveyed drivers as they left the parking lot and found that 83 percent of drivers and passengers were wearing their seat belts.
"We stood at the entrance in plain clothes and watched the kids," said UHP Trooper Todd Johnson.
Those who had not clicked on their seat belts were given education pamphlets, not a ticket. Troopers came back two more times during the year and found the percentage of belted drivers and passengers had increased 11 percent, UHP Sgt. Ted Tingey said.
Johnson said 89 percent of teenage drivers across the state wear their seat belts.
Christy Techmeyer, student body adviser, said the troopers had come to the school to provide educational material and opportunities so students would understand how important it is to wear seat belts, even though it is required by law.
"They brought the crash simulator and the drunk goggles," Techmeyer said. "We never stopped talking about it."
UHP had adopted Layton High School through its "Adopt-A-High School Program" and worked to get students to wear seat belts as a habit, because teenage drivers and their passengers tend to have the lowest seat belt usage in Utah, Tingey said.
Layton students, along with those in Alta High School and Tooele High School, had shown improvement in wearing seat belts and were awarded Creamies on Tuesday as students left the schools.
Layton High student body officers handed out 576 of the ice cream bars.
"Have a Creamie for wearing your seat belt," said Alex Young as he handed out the ice cream treats to students in a car.
Emery Anderson, a sophomore, has been driving for only a few months.
She and her three passengers were all belted in.
"I always buckle up, because I want to be safe and it's the law," Emery said.
Justin Wapshott, a junior, said he wears his seat belt because "that is the way I was taught and told by my parents."
Morgan Stevens, junior class president, said she wears her seat belt because, "I fear I will get in the car and will never come home. I'm a pretty cautious person."
Morgan then waved a Creamie at a car of students and said, "Thanks for buckling up."