Saved by the Belt draws sellout crowd
It was a full house at Memorial Stadium July 21 as ITD’s Office of Highway Safety and the Single A Boise Hawks partnered to encourage sports fans to buckle up during Saved by the Belt Night.
It was a historic night for baseball as the Hawks became the first team in professional baseball to wear special edition uniforms featuring a seatbelt.
Watch the Hawks video.
“We sat down with them and found out they are really outside-of-the-box thinkers and we decided it would be a great idea to put a seatbelt on a jersey and play a game,” said OHS Outreach Manager Ken Corder.
In addition to the jerseys, the team also brought in television star Dennis Haskins, more commonly known as Mr. Belding from the hit '90s television show "Saved by the Bell."
“We know that seatbelts save lives,” said Haskins. “I personally have an experience from five weeks ago where I had started out from a light, real slow. Nobody was on my left, and I got hit by a guy running a red light at 40 mph. That seatbelt saved my life.”
In 2016, nearly 188 people killed in crashes in Idaho were not wearing seatbelts. Seatbelt usage in the state is also below the national average. Saved by the Belt aimed to change that by connecting with pop culture fans, sports fans and families.
“Baseball is America’s pastime and it’s something that everyone seems to be passionate about in our culture,” Corder said. “We have a great captive audience here and if we can talk to the grandpa, their kids, and their grandkids about safety—about getting to and from the game safely, wearing a seatbelt and arriving alive, that’s huge for us.”
“Through the power of minor league baseball and the Hawks, whether it’s to kids, adults, or seniors, we can remind them about the importance of wearing seatbelts,” said Hawks General Manager Bob Flannery.
After the game (which the Hawks won 9-0), the jerseys were sold in an auction with the proceeds going to St. Alphonsus Medical Center to buy car seats for refugee families. The event was a first for OHS and the Hawks, and both groups hope the most memorable part of the night is the importance of seatbelts.
“I hope fans remember that seatbelts do save lives,” Haskins said. “Drive well Idaho. Wear your seatbelts Idaho. Belts on Idaho.”