The Montezuma Injury Prevention Coalition’s “Arrive Alive” program expects to have a busy spring this year.
A nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of traffic safety in the county, MIPC Arrive Alive is made up of representatives from Colorado State Patrol, the Montezuma County Public Health Department, the Ute Mountain Ute tribe and other local institutions who organize various initiatives designed to decrease traffic accidents in the region.
This spring they plan to focus on car seats and safe teen driving. A mock crash at Montezuma-Cortez High School, a “Tip a Trooper” fundraiser and car seat checkpoints are all on the agenda for the next few weeks.
On Wednesday, several State Patrol troopers will wait tables at Pepperhead Restaurant in Cortez in exchange for tips. The proceeds will benefit some of Arrive Alive’s efforts to reach out to local high school students, such as the distracted driving commercials they sometimes sponsor with the M-CHS drama program.
“That’s an event that’s going to help us keep going with this,” said coalition member Delilah Darland, a child safety technician at the Public Health Department. “We had a grant, but the grant ended.”
Other Arrive Alive programs fundraisers like “Tip a Trooper” include mock crash drills the group often sponsors at local schools. The next one is scheduled for April 21 at Montezuma-Cortez High School, shortly before the school’s prom. Last year they helped organize a mock crash at Mancos High School. Colorado State Patrol Sgt. James Saunders, another coalition member, said that event was a big success.
“We had no car crashes that prom weekend,” he said.
It’s been about three years since there was a mock crash at M-CHS. They hope to make up for lost time with an elaborate, school-wide scenario, complete with a flight-for-life helicopter.
Between now and then, though, the group plans to organize or support a few other events. The biggest is a four-day certification course for people who want to become child passenger safety technicians, scheduled for April 26 through 29 at the Hospice of Montezuma. There is an $85 fee, but scholarships will be available through the state patrol’s Car Seats Colorado program.
Howard Kaime, a child passenger safety technician for the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, said he and Towaoc law enforcement officers plan to set up a car seat checkpoint in the area soon in order to encourage people to use proper child restraints. But as of March 9, he hadn’t set a date for it yet. Students will also set up a community car seat check-up on the last day of the child passenger safety technician training.
Arrive Alive plans to make car seats their main focus this spring, since Darland said most people don’t know how to use them safely.
“Nine out of ten car seats are installed incorrectly,” she said.
Other recent community efforts by the Arrive Alive program included a partnership with the Cortez Dairy Queen to give out gift cards to traffic offenders whose children were in proper car seats.