Augusta Free Press

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

With 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 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.


Schools Participating in the 2015 YOVASO Arrive Alive Campaign

High Schools


Middle Schools