To help save lives and prevent such crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Virginia schools are kicking off a statewide teen safety campaign this week to establish safe driving and passenger safety behaviors among youth and teens. The campaign, called “Arrive Alive,” focuses on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during the spring and summer months and during prom and graduation. It is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) and the Virginia State Police, and is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office. In addition, YOVASO has partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education, a nonprofit charitable organization affiliated with AAA Mid-Atlantic, to provide a pedestrian and bike safety component for middle schools.
More than 50 high and middle schools are participating in Arrive Alive which kicks off April 4 and runs through May 7. During the campaign, students will work in peer-to-peer groups to develop programs and social media messages that influence their peers to be safer on Virginia roadways. Middle schools will focus their campaign on how to be a safe passenger, pedestrian, and cyclist. High schools will focus on preventing such risky driving and passenger behaviors as driving distracted, speeding, driving with too many passengers, not wearing a seat belt, underage drinking and driving, and joy riding or “cruising.”
“Through Arrive Alive, teens will take the lead this spring to make sure their friends and peers arrive home safely,” said Mary King, YOVASO Program Manager. “With students across Virginia using their positive influence to encourage and remind each other to drive safely and celebrate responsibly, we can change behaviors and reduce crash risks during this dangerous period for teens. Our goal is to make this year’s prom, graduation, and summer break the safest yet,” King emphasized.
Statistics from the Virginia DMV Highway Safety Office show that over the past five years, teen drivers in Virginia were involved in 42,707 crashes during the months from May through August, with 174 of those crashes resulting in a fatality. During the same period, 146 teens aged 15-20 were killed, 15,202 were injured, and 2,516 were seriously injured in the months from May through August.
Throughout Arrive Alive, students at participating schools will develop a creative project for the student body designed to influence change in risky driving behaviors and attitudes. In addition, schools will hold pre and post distracted driving checks as students arrive at school to determine changes in the number of students who drive distracted. Other activities will include wrecked car displays with the “Don’t be a Party Crasher” banner, attaching “TXT LATER. BUCKLE UP NOW. ARRIVE ALIVE.” cards to prom and graduation corsages and invitations, organizing safety rallies, and other creative messaging and programming.
Middle schools will focus their creative project around good passenger and pedestrian safety habits including seat belt use, bicycle helmet use, and other safe cycling and pedestrian habits. Middle schools will also complete a variety of safety programs, including pledge banner signings with students promising to be safe passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
“The Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education promotes safety in schools, on roads and in communities throughout Virginia,” said Haley Glynn, Traffic Safety Community Educator at the Foundation for Safety and Education. “We are partnering with YOVASO on the Arrive Alive Campaign to bring a greater awareness to bike, pedestrian and passenger safety. Our goal is to prevent tragic biking and pedestrian accidents through a strategic, combined effort”
For more information or to register your school for the Arrive Alive campaign, contact Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator at 540-375-3596 or visit yovaso.org. YOVASO is Virginia’s Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver Safety and is a program of the Virginia State Police. Membership in YOVASO is free and open to all Virginia high schools and middle schools. YOVASO currently has 134 member schools.
Here are tips to help keep teen drivers safe during the high-risk warm weather months:
- Buckle up every time and in every seating position.
- Slow down and obey posted speed limits.
- Limit the number of teen passengers in the vehicle and obey Virginia’s passenger limitation law for teens. Remember, teens under 18 are only allowed to carry one passenger under age 21 for the first year of licensure unless accompanied by a licensed adult.
- Drive distraction-free. It’s illegal for teens under 18 to use a cell phone while driving.
- Drive alcohol and drug-free. Virginia’s Zero Tolerance law makes consuming alcohol or driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol a serious criminal offense for teens under the age of 21. (Va. Code 18.2-266.1)
- Avoid “cruising” and joy riding with friends. This leads to an increased risk for teen crashes.
- Obey Virginia’s midnight curfew which restricts teens under 18 from driving between midnight and 4 a.m.
- Celebrate responsibly during prom, graduation, and summer celebrations. Make a commitment to being safe and arriving alive.
Schools Participating in the 2016 YOVASO Arrive Alive Campaign:
- Alleghany High School, Alleghany County
- Blacksburg High School, Montgomery County
- Bluestone High School, Mecklenburg County
- Brooke Point High School, Stafford County
- Christiansburg High School, Montgomery County
- Cosby High School, Chesterfield County
- Courtland High School, Spotsylvania County
- Dan River High School, Pittsylvania County
- Eastern Montgomery High School, Montgomery County
- Galileo Magnet School, Danville City
- George Wythe High School, Wythe County
- Giles High School, Giles County
- Glen Allen High School, Henrico County
- Glenvar High School, Roanoke County
- Heritage High School, Lynchburg City
- James River High School, Botetourt County
- Jefferson Forest High School, Bedford County
- Liberty High School, Bedford County
- Lord Botetourt High School, Botetourt County
- Louisa County High School, Louisa County
- Luray High School, Page County
- Magna Vista High School, Henry County
- Nelson County High School, Nelson County
- Northside High School, Roanoke County
- North Stafford High School, Stafford County
- Patriot High School, Prince William County
- Poquoson High School, Poquoson City
- Randolph-Henry High School, Fairfax County
- Stafford High School, Stafford County
- Staunton River High School, Bedford County
- Stuarts Draft High School, Augusta County
- Tazewell High School, Tazewell County
- William Fleming High School, Roanoke City
- Wilson Memorial High School, Augusta County
- Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth City
- A.G. Wright Middle School, Stafford County
- Auburn Middle School, Montgomery County
- Bristol’s Promise, Washington County
- Central Academy Middle School, Botetourt County
- Cave Spring Middle School, Roanoke County
- Dixon-Smith Middle School, Stafford County
- Drew Middle School, Stafford County
- Forest Middle School, Bedford County
- H.H. Poole Middle School, Stafford County
- Hidden Valley Middle School, Roanoke County
- Rodney E. Thompson Middle School, Stafford County
- Shawsville Middle School, Montgomery County
- Shirley Heim Middle School, Stafford County
- Spotsylvania Middle School, Spotsylvania County
- Stafford Middle School, Stafford County