‘Buckle Up NH’ is the best program in New Hampshire


Some of the souvenirs that Buckle Up NH handed out to kids for attending their conference in order to encourage safe choices. Hollis Brookline’s Shannon O’Connor ‘18 stays safe on the road by, “not touching [her] phone and staying alert to everyone around [her].” That is the behavior that Buckle Up NH is trying to encourage by advertising safety.

Scott Vancoughnett, Feature Editor

On Oct. 23, students and staff from Hollis Brookline got to take a Monday off from school and travel to New Hampshire’s state capital to listen to a few wonderful speakers about safe driving. The first of the speakers was Former Special Agent, Garrett Fitzgerald, who was a Secret Service member for years until his life changed .

Fitzgerald suffered an unfortunate spinal cord injury in December of 2015, paralyzing him from the shoulders down. Fitzgerald spoke about safe choices, and how the driver that struck him and the other three special agents was high on heroin. His wife Joan also spoke at the conference about driving safe. They continuously stressed that making unsafe choices can not only affect you, but your friends and family, and people you don’t even know.

The entire program, Buckle Up NH, is one of the most educational and practical programs that this state has to offer to young students. Buckle Up NH goes around the state in order to educate students on safe driving. Driving safely is one thing that nearly everyone takes for granted. With over one million people in New Hampshire, and hundreds of thousands of cars flying around the roads, driving is one of the more dangerous things that people do on a day-to-day basis. Just on the morning commute, hundreds of people pass each other going forty miles per hour or faster–one slip, and people can be severely injured or worse. However, thanks to Buckle Up NH, teens are being educated by experts who have seen the consequences of unsafe driving firsthand.

Physical Education teacher at Hollis Brookline, Tracy Gray, who attended the conference on Monday stated, “I think my favorite part was the first two speakers, so Garrett Fitzgerald and his wife, Joan. Hearing their story about how their life got turned upside-down. I thought it was really powerful.” Gray is referring to how, after his injury, the Fitzgeralds had to change everything to accommodate Garrett.

Gray continued to say that she thinks Buckle Up NH is a great program and she would “love to see the whole school go, or have them come to the school,” so all teens can learn about making safe driving choices.

One of the younger teachers in the school, Tori Milette, thought that teaching students about safe driving is a great idea, but it’s tough to do and stated, “unfortunately, conferences aren’t super attractive for [teens].” She’s worried that not many students would want to go to a safe driving conference. Despite this, at the Buckle Up NH speeches on October 23, there were groups of nearly twenty students from a plethora of schools across the state.

The fact that a program as influential as Buckle Up NH exists is a great step in the right direction, and having them invite students to come hear speakers in order to learn about how to be safe and why they should be safe is another reason that they’re the best organization in the state. All they want to do is keep kids, our nation’s future, safe. What more can we ask for than to ensure that our society is in safe hands?