LEESBURG, GA (WALB) - State officials say the lives of hundreds of Georgians would be saved each year if they wore seat belts.
Lee County Principal Kevin Dowling says putting on a seat belt is this easy: reach back, pull it over, and put it on.
He says he encourages his kids every day to be careful and wear their seat belts.
Hundreds of his students get in their cars and leave campus every day, but there is one glaring issue--40 percent of them leave without wearing seat belts.
"If it's that simple for you just to reach back and grab it, pull it down and buckle it, if it's that simple, and it gives you a much better chance of surviving a bad accident, well then I don't see why we don't do it," said Principal Kevin Dowling.
Even with numerous reminders to put on seat belts as they leave the parking lot, Lee County's principal, Kevin Dowling, has made it his mission to improve his students' seat belt use.
"If I make an announcement at the end of the day I'll say, hey be careful on the roads and wear your seat belts. When I post something on our school Facebook page, if it's something where they'll be traveling I'll say be careful and wear a seat belt," said Dowling.
Dowling's constant reminders resonate with his students as well, especially those who have been in wrecks and weren't injured because they were wearing seat belts.
"Mr. Dowling does a good job of not only caring about our academics but also our safety outside, in and out of school," said Josie Nix.
"It's just kind of that one fatherly thing that I can kind of help our kids understand. Buckle up and it just might save your life some day," said Dowling.
Dowling says more than ten students have been killed in his twenty years at Lee County.
Even now, not all students wear them, but he has seen an improvement after his daily reminders.
"We've seen a lot more kids starting to choose to wear them. Don't get me wrong, they're not perfect but we see kids choosing to wear them more often than they used to," said Dowling.
Dowling says the seat belt talk is so engrained in his students that he mentions it every year at graduation and the students will say it along with him because they've heard it so much.