Home Virginia schools kick off campaign to encourage safe teen driving during high-risk months

Virginia schools kick off campaign to encourage safe teen driving during high-risk months


virginia-newWith warm weather just around the corner, schools from across the commonwealth are kicking off a safety campaign for youth and teens to encourage safe driving behaviors and passenger safety.

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 season. The campaign is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) and the Virginia State Police. It is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office.

Close to 60 high and middle schools are participating in Arrive Alive which kicks off April 6 and runs through May 8. 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 in a vehicle. Middle schools will focus their campaign on how to be a safe passenger, seat belt use, and learning about good safety behaviors and attitudes prior to the driving years. High schools will focus on the prevention of risky driving and passenger behaviors, such as not wearing a seat belt, driver distractions, speeding, driving with too many passengers, 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. “Students all across the state will be using their positive influence to encourage each other to drive safely and make responsible decisions. We want to create that atmosphere of excitement in the schools for making safe choices.”

One way students will reach their peers is by creating a short video which emphasizes the risks associated with warm weather driving and how to be safer in a vehicle. The PSAs will be uploaded to YouTube and voted on by students statewide the week of May 8-14 on YOVASO’s YouTube channel.

Schools will be competing against each other in this phase of the campaign and the three high and middle schools with the most votes will win cash prizes.

In addition, high schools participating in this year’s campaign will hold pre and post distracted driving checks as students arrive at school to determine changes in the number of students who drive distracted.

Middle schools competing will hold pre and post seat belt checks. Other activities will include signing of Arrive Alive pledge banners, distributing “Don’t Text Me When You Drive” cards, organizing safety rallies, and other teen-friendly events.

“Car crashes are not only the number one cause of injury and death for U.S. teens aged 15-20, they are also the leading cause of death for every age 11 through 14,” explained Casey Palmer, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator. “We are excited to add the middle school component of the Arrive Alive campaign this year to get youth thinking about the importance of being safe in a vehicle well before they get a driver’s license.”

For more information about the campaign or the YOVASO Program, call Mary King, Program Administrator at 540- 375-9581, or Casey Palmer, 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. It is sponsored by the Virginia State Police and funded by grants from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office. Membership is free and open to all Virginia high schools and middle schools. YOVASO currently has 137 member schools.

Here are some tips for teen drivers as the high-risk warm weather season approaches:  Buckle up every time you get in a vehicle.

  • 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 2015 YOVASO Arrive Alive Campaign

High Schools

  • Alleghany High School, Alleghany County
  • Altavista High School, Campbell County
  • Amherst County High School, Amherst County
  • Auburn High School, Montgomery County
  • Blacksburg High School, Montgomery County
  • Bluestone High School, Mecklenburg County
  • Brooke Point High School, Stafford County
  • Christiansburg High School, Montgomery County
  • Courtland High School, Spotsylvania County
  • Dan River High School, Pittsylvania County
  • Douglas Freeman High School, Henrico County
  • E.C. Glass High School, Lynchburg City
  • Eastern Montgomery High School, Montgomery County
  • Eastside High School, Wise County
  • Franklin County High School, Franklin County
  • Galax High School, Galax City Galileo
  • Magnet School, Danville
  • George Wythe High School, Wythe County
    Giles High School, Giles County
  • Glen Allen High School, Henrico County
  • Heritage High School, Lynchburg City
  • Hidden Valley High School, Roanoke County
  • James River High School, Botetourt County
  • Jefferson Forest High School, Bedford County
  • Liberty High School, Bedford County
  • Lord Botetourt High School, Botetourt County
  • Luray High School, Page County
  • Mountain View High School, Stafford County
  • Narrows High School, Giles County
  • North Stafford High School, Stafford County
  • Page County High School, Page County
  • Park View High School, Mecklenburg County
  • Randolph-Henry High School, Fairfax County
  • Stafford High School, Stafford County
  • Staunton River High School, Bedford County
  • Stuarts Draft High School, Augusta County
  • Tallwood High School, Virginia Beach City
  • Tunstall High School, Pittsylvania County
  • West Point High School, King William County
  • William Fleming High School, Roanoke City
  • Wilson Memorial High School, Augusta County


Middle Schools

  • A.G. Wright Middle School, Stafford County
  • Auburn Middle School, Montgomery 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
  • Fries Middle School, Grayson County
  • Galax Middle School, Galax City
  • HH Poole Middle School, Stafford County
  • Hidden Valley Middle School, Roanoke County
  • Monelison Middle School, Amherst County
  • Peabody Middle School, Petersburg City
  • Plaza Middle School, Virginia Beach City
  • Rodney Thompson Middle School, Stafford County
  • Shawsville Middle School, Montgomery County
  • Shirley Heim Middle School, Stafford County
  • Stafford Middle School, Stafford County



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.