newsteen driver safety campaign challenge announces winners

Statewide teen driver safety campaign challenge announces winners

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With teen driver-related fatalities on the rise in Virginia, several schools are being recognized for their efforts to educate students about driver and passenger safety as part of the statewide Arrive Alive: Buckle Up and Slow Down campaign.

Thirty-four high schools, middle schools, and youth groups across the Commonwealth participated in the campaign which focuses on reminding teens to drive safely during the high-risk warm weather months in spring and summer.

The annual campaign is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety, the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office, and State Farm.

As part of the campaign, participating schools and youth groups competed for prizes by developing a creative project, completing call-to-action activities, and conducting pre and post seat belt checks to evaluate the campaign’s impact within their school or youth group community.

Schools and youth groups conducted activities like a Battle of the Belts, which focused on seat belt use and involved students racing to see who could buckle up the quickest. Other activities included door decorating contests, safe driving pep rallies, buckle up photo booths, and a YOVASO egg hunt for students.

Arrive Alive high school winners are:

  • Liberty High School, Bedford County, 1st Place, $500
  • Northside High School, Roanoke County, 2nd Place, $250
  • Randolph-Henry High School, Charlotte County, 3rd Place, $100

Arrive Alive middle school winners:

  • Auburn Middle School, Montgomery County, 1st Place, $300
  • Walker-Grant Middle School, Fredericksburg City, 2nd Place, $200

All cash prizes are funded by State Farm.

“We are proud of these schools and youth groups for taking the lead in encouraging young drivers and passengers in their communities to buckle up, slow down and drive safely during this high-risk period,” said Mary King, YOVASO program manager. “With the alarming increase we are seeing in teen fatalities across the state, it is especially important for schools, youth groups, community organizations, and parents to get involved in reminding teens to make good decisions when driving or riding as a passenger. Our challenge now is to increase these safe driving messages and programs as we head into summer break and the 101 critical days of summer.”

According to data from the Virginia DMV:

  • Teen motor vehicle fatalities rose 31 percent from 2020 to 2021
  • Speed and failure to buckle up continue to be an issue with 62 percent of teens killed in 2021 being unrestrained
  • 60 percent of teen driver fatal crashes in 2021 involved speed

With the increase in teen motor vehicle fatalities and speed-related fatal crashes, YOVASO is encouraging schools and youth groups to continue promoting safe driving and passenger safety throughout the summer months. Businesses and community members may also register for free buckle up/slow down vinyl banners, posters, and buckle up message cards.

For more information on the campaign, contact (540) 739-4392 or visit

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.