Virginia schools, youth groups kick off statewide campaign for safe teen driving ahead of high-risk months

Local News

SALEM, Va. (WFXR) — Since statistics show more Virginia teen drivers will be involved in crashes between May and August than any other time of the year, schools and youth groups across the Commonwealth are kicking off a campaign this week to establish safe driver and passenger habits and help save lives.

According to Virginia State Police, the campaign — which is called “Arrive Alive” — is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), focusing on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during the spring and summer months.

Throughout the campaign, police say high schoolers will lead peer-to-peer programs on speed prevention and seat belt use while middle schoolers will focus on being a safe passenger and always buckling up.

The Virginia DMV reports that 63% of young driver-related fatal crashes in 2020 were speed-related while 63% of the teens (ages 15-20) who were killed in crashes in 2020 were unrestrained.

“Although young driver-related crashes were down in 2020 in Virginia, we had an alarming 12% increase in fatalities among young drivers to risky behaviors such as speeding and not wearing a seat belt” said Mary King, YOVASO’s program manager.  “If we are going to save lives, we need our youth to use their positive influence to change these high-risk behaviors and attitudes.”

King says all teens are encouraged to get involved in Arrive Alive by asking friends and peers to buckle up, as well as leading school and community efforts to make speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors unacceptable.

In order to address the seriousness of speeding and wearing seat belts among young drivers and passengers, authorities say YOVASO’s Arrive Alive Campaign offers several opportunities for students, schools, and youth groups to take action.

As the “highlight of this year’s campaign,” Virginia State Police say the Creative Entry Competition provides an option for student groups to participate in a behavior changing project for a chance to win cash prizes.

Even though high school and middle school student groups will compete separately, all creative entry messaging reportedly need to be related to the Arrive Alive Campaign theme, either by addressing speed prevention at the high school level or seat belt use at the middle school level.

According to officials, entries — which are due by 5 p.m. on May 12 — will be judged on content, creativity, and student involvement.

Thanks to State Farm, the first place winner will receive a $300 prize, the second place winner will receive a $200 prize, and the third place winner will receive a $100 prize, all of which will be announced on May 24.

For guidelines and the entry form, follow this link to YOVASO’s website.

Anyone between the ages of 11 and 20 may participate in the campaign by registering for the free #ArriveAlive21 Kit, which includes driver and passenger safety resources, activity ideas, summer recipes, sunglasses, stickers, and other fun items.

In addition, police say students who register for a kit will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Starting April 16, winners will be randomly selected every two weeks through the end of August.

As part of a partnership with State Farm, YOVASO will also give away $50 to three schools or youth groups that continue activities and/or promotion throughout the summer. Organizers will randomly select these winners at the end of June, July, and August.

According to officials, there are 30 middle schools, high schools, and youth groups currently registered for the 2021 Arrive Alive Campaign. The following 12 are from southwest and central Virginia:

  • Auburn Middle School in Montgomery County
  • Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County
  • Forest Middle School in Bedford County
  • Franklin County High School in Franklin County
  • Galileo Magnet High School in Danville
  • Giles High School in Giles County
  • Heritage High School in Lynchburg
  • Jefferson Forest High School in Bedford County
  • Liberty High School in Bedford County
  • Narrows High School in Giles County
  • Northside High School in Roanoke County
  • William Byrd High School in Roanoke County

If you want more information or want to register for free campaign materials for your school or youth group, either call the Program Development Coordinator, Casey Taylor, at (540) 739-4392 or visit the campaign landing page.

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