Stuarts Draft High School SADD Highway project to serve as statewide PSA

Stuarts Draft High School SADD Highway project to serve as statewide PSA

policeThe Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety and the Virginia State Police announced the winners of the 2016 “Drive Alive” Teen Safe Driving campaign.

  • Statewide High School Division 1st Place Winner: Randolph-Henry High School, Charlotte County
  • Statewide High School Division 2nd Place Winner: North Stafford High School, Stafford County
  • Statewide High School Division 3rd Place Winner: Poquoson High School, City of Poquoson
  • Statewide Middle School Division 1st Place Winner: Central Academy Middle School, Botetourt County
  • Statewide Middle School Division 2nd Place Winner: Shirley C. Heim Middle School, Stafford County
  • Statewide Middle School Division 3rd Place Winner: Drew Middle School, Stafford County

Stuarts Draft High School in Augusta County won the WFXR-TV Challenge Award, and will have their campaign recorded as a safety public service announcement to air this summer.

More than 60 high and middle schools in the Commonwealth participated in the annual Arrive Alive campaign that ran from April 4 to May 6, 2016. The high school campaign focused on reducing risks and preventing teen driver-related crashes during the high-risk warm weather months and during prom and graduation celebrations.  The middle school campaign addressed passenger, pedestrian and bike safety, as well as establishing safe driving attitudes and behaviors prior to the driving years.

“This year’s campaign was extremely successful as schools worked creatively to address the risks for both passengers and drivers during the high-risk warm weather months,” explained Casey Taylor, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator. “From mock crashes and safety days to PSAs and PowerPoint presentations, the students addressed a number of risks often involved in teen-related crashes.”  Taylor said she is also pleased with the success of the campaign in changing teen driving behaviors as shown by the 10.63% decrease in distracted driving from pre to post campaign.

Winning Project Summaries:

  • To capture first place, the Randolph-Henry students took their campaign efforts to social media by asking students to share their creative ideas for encouraging each other to buckle up and drive safely on Instagram. For two weeks, the students posted their safety pictures and messages and students with the most “likes” won gift baskets with items donated by the school and local businesses. The project reached more than 650 students and more than 150 students shared their ideas. Randolph Henry also organized a Mock Crash prior to prom, held a Ghost Out day to highlight teen fatalities, worked with teachers to schedule classroom assignments on safe driving, and a variety of other activities. Pictures:
  • Students at North Stafford developed and produced an educational video that included real life testimonials, interviews with law enforcement, and statistics on distracted driving, alcohol use, joyriding, and other teen driving factors. The video was uploaded to YouTube and other social sites for student viewing and for use by teachers in the classroom. The video was viewed by 1,000 students, close to 56% of the school’s student body. The students also organized a week of safety activities during lunch that meshed with spirit week and led up to prom. Activities included pledge banner signings, a vehicle maintenance station by the Autotech classes, DUI goggle demonstrations, and a seat belt fashion show where students designed and modeled seat belts. North Stafford’s video:
  • The Poquoson students used technology to spread their Arrive Alive message by creating a cool video using “Top Gun” style actors to stress the importance of wearing seat belts and driving distraction free. The video was shown to all driver education classes and reached more than 1,200 students. The students also conducted seat belt checks, developed banners and other safety messaging. Poquoson’s video:
  • At Stuarts Draft, students created a “SADD Highway. This was achieved by turning the school’s main hallway and intersections into a highway with speed limit signs, stoplights, no texting while driving signs, double yellow lines, and stop bars. Club members stood at the intersections to reward students who followed the rules of the road (walking on the correct side, stopping at stop signs, putting phones away while walking, etc.) with candy. The idea was to put teens in a safe situation where they could re-focus their attention on driving and be rewarded for doing so. The students also created a “Throw it in the Back” bracelet challenge to encourage students to put away the cell phone while driving. Students were encouraged to wear or display the bracelets in their vehicles as a reminder to not text and drive.  Students were also encouraged to take pictures of the displayed bracelets to share on Instagram and Twitter. Pictures and videos:
  • Students at Central Academy Middle School held a “YOVASO Safety Day” with organizations such as DRIVE SMART Virginia, Roanoke Area Substance Abuse Coalition (RAYSAC), and the YOVASO state office. Throughout the day students learned about distracted driving, bike safety, peer pressure, and pedestrian and passenger safety. More than 350 students signed a pledge banner to be safe when riding in a vehicle. Pictures:
  • At Shirley Heim Middle School, the YOVASO club worked with the drama club to write several scripts that focused distracted driving and not distracting the driver. The best script was then used to produce an informative video which was shared with over 10,000 people on YouTube and Facebook. Videos:
  • Drew middle schoolers reached students by creating and displaying a large poster in the main hallway of the school to reflect the Arrive Alive message. The poster was made up of safety notes written by students and was designed in the shape of a seat belt. Students gathered after school to write safety messages, work on the poster, watch videos on the importance of being traffic safety advocates, and had the opportunity to sign the pledge banner. The poster and messaging was seen by the entire student body. Pictures:

Winners in the high school division were selected based on their Creative Project, which was developed by students and emphasized the Arrive Alive campaign theme and messaging. The Creative Project was given the highest weight and was judged on content, percentage of student involvement, and creativity. Other judging criteria included educational and awareness activities aimed at changing driving attitudes and behaviors and the results of pre and post campaign distracted driving checks to discourage distracted driving among students.  The results of the distraction checks showed a 10.63% overall decrease in distracted driving among students at participating schools from pre-campaign to post-campaign.

Middle school division winners were selected based on their Creative Project and educational and awareness activities on passenger, bicycle, and pedestrian safety.

As the statewide high school winner, Randolph-Henry will receive a day with the DRIVE SMART Virginia Distracted Driving Simulator. The runner up high schools will receive cash prizes. The middle school winners will receive cash prizes funded by the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education, a nonprofit charitable organization affiliated with AAA Mid-Atlantic. All schools will receive a congratulations banner.

For more information about the “Arrive Alive” campaign or the YOVASO Program, call Mary King, Program Administrator, or Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator, at 540-375-3596 or visit the website at  YOVASO is Virginia’s Peer-to-Peer Education and Prevention Program for Teen Driver and Passenger Safety. It is a program of the Virginia State Police and funded by grants from the Virginia DMV Highway Safety Office. Membership in YOVASO is free and is open to all Virginia high schools and middle schools.  YOVASO currently has 134 member schools.



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