Iowa State Patrol logoThe Iowa State Patrol is launching a campaign with an Iowa-based convenience store chain designed to encourage young drivers to wear their seat belts.

Mark Peterson, spokesman for AAA-Iowa, says state troopers will be showing up in places like school parking lots and offering rewards to teen motorists who are buckled up. It’s part of the “I Got Caught” campaign.

“They’re going to be working with schools throughout Iowa,” Peterson says. “Obviously, they’re going to be looking for young adults who are wearing their seat belt.”

Casey’s General Stores has donated 10,000 coupons for a free fountain drink or a free slice of pizza.

Peterson says studies find that teens are the least likely group to buckle up and the most likely group to die in a roadway crash.

“In Iowa, about half of the fatal crashes involve non-seat belt use and unfortunately, young adults are overrepresented in that group,” Peterson says. “Through a program such as this, a positive program, one that rewards the right kind of behavior, we hope it spreads and that we can get some of those kids that weren’t belting to start wearing that belt.”

During 2014 and 2015, Peterson says Iowa had 91 teens involved in fatal crashes as drivers or passengers. Of those fatalities, more than half of them were not wearing their seat belts.

State troopers will not be pulling over young drivers as part of this promotion, he says. They’ll only be working in conjunction with the schools this spring at school facilities or school-sponsored events, including prom and graduation.