The Iowa State Patrol has teemed up with Casey’s General Stores, and AAA-Iowa for a campaign that offers incentives and rewards to teenage drivers who are doing the correct things while driving.
Trooper Vince Kurtz says it’s called the “I got caught” program. “What we do is, a trooper shows up at their school early in the morning and sits in their parking lot. And instead of issuing tickets for people not wearing their seatbelts — we are giving out free pizza and free pop to the students who are wearing their seatbelts,” Kurtz explains.
He says this can be one of the deadliest times of the year. “Normally these are the celebrations that we want to think bank on later in life…made some great memories at our graduation party, made some great memories at this prom. Every year, it never fails, somewhere in the U.S. and even here in Iowa at different times, there is a tragedy that happens because students made a bad choice. Either alcohol, not wearing their seatbelts, maybe they are distracted while they are driving,” Kurtz explains.
Kurtz says they’ve had good response already and hope it makes teen drivers become more aware of their driving habits, and the importance of making good decisions when it comes to their driving. “Those that have maybe made the choice not to in the past will start to see that this is a good choice — for more than one reason — not just because they are getting pizza and pop, Kurtz says. “But hopefully they are going to see that we are out there promoting the good choice, and they will make that positive choice in the future.”
Schools can contact the Iowa State Patrol if they would like to be considered for the “I Got Caught” campaign.
(Story by Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)