From Youth of Virginia Speak Out

65 high and middle schools across Virginia are kicking off a statewide campaign to increase seat belt usage rates among teens and youth.

The four‐week challenge, “Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up & Slow Down” will encourage youth and teens to develop a lifelong buckle up habit by reminding them that seat belts are critical safety equipment for every driver and passenger. The campaign emphasizes that seat belts are critical safety equipment in a vehicle and are designed to protect and save lives in the same way football helmets protect football players. In 2016, 71 teens were killed in crashes in Virginia and of those teenagers, 54% were not wearing safety belts.

“Our goal is to get students to make buckling up a habit and in addition to that, we’re encouraging high schools to make speed prevention a central focus of their campaign,” said Casey Taylor, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator. “Buckling up isn’t our only problem. In Virginia, speed remains a key factor in all fatal crashes involving a young driver with approximately half of all fatal teen crashes caused by excessive speed, so it’s important for our schools to address this issue as well.”
During the four week-challenge, students at participating schools will develop a creative event for the student body designed to influence their peers to buckle up and/or slow down. In addition, schools will complete pre and post seat belt checks as students arrive at school to measure the campaign’s impact on increasing seat belt use among students. Other activities will include educational events at home football games, buckle up pledge signings, seat belt safety contests, organizing traffic safety rallies and tailgate events, and other creative messaging and programming. Each participating school will be judged on the effectiveness and creativity of its seat belt and/or speed educational programs, the percentage of students reached, and the percentage increase in the school’s seat belt usage rate by the end of the campaign.

This campaign is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Highway Safety Office. In addition, grants from Geico and State Farm will support prizes and educational incentives and materials. Campaign winners in the high school and middle school divisions will be announced on November 6. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three placing schools in both the middle and high school divisions.

For more information or to register your school for this 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 98 active member schools.

Schools Participating in the 2017 “Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up & Slow Down” Campaign

High Schools:

Altavista High School, Campbell Co.
Amherst County High School, Amherst Co.
Auburn High School, Montgomery Co.
Blacksburg High School, Montgomery Co.
Bluestone High School, Mecklenburg Co.
Brooke Point High School, Stafford Co.
Christiansburg High School, Montgomery Co.
Colonial Forge High School, Stafford Co.
Council High School, Buchanan Co.
Eastern Montgomery High School, Montgomery Co.
Floyd County High School, Floyd Co.
Galileo Magnet High School, Danville City
George Wythe High School, Richmond City
Grayson County High School, Grayson Co.
Grayson Highlands School, Grayson Co.
Gretna High School, Pittsylvania Co.
Halifax County High School, Halifax Co.
Heritage High School, Lynchburg City
Hidden Valley High School, Roanoke Co.
James River High School, Botetourt Co.
Jefferson Forest High School, Bedford Co.
Liberty High School, Bedford Co.
Louisa County High School, Louisa Co.
Luray High School, Page Co.
Middlesex High School, Middlesex Co.
Mountain View High School, Stafford Co.
Narrows High School, Giles Co.
North Stafford High School, Stafford Co.
Page County High School, Page Co.
Parkview High School, Mecklenburg Co.
Patriot High School, Prince William Co.
Poquoson High School, Poquoson City
Randolph-Henry High School, Charlotte Co.
Stafford High School, Stafford Co.
Staunton River High School, Bedford Co.
Stuarts Draft High School, Augusta Co.
Tazewell High School, Tazewell Co.
Turner Ashby High School, Rockingham Co.
William Byrd High School, Roanoke Co.
William Campbell High School, Campbell Co.
Wilson Memorial High School, Augusta Co.
Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth City

Middle Schools:

A.G. Wright Middle School, Stafford Co.
Auburn Middle School, Montgomery Co.
Bedford Middle School, Bedford Co.
Cave Spring Middle School, Roanoke Co.
Central Academy Middle School, Botetourt Co.
Dixon Smith Middle School, Stafford Co.
Forest Middle School, Bedford Co.
Fries Middle School, Grayson Co.
H.H. Poole Middle School, Stafford Co.
Hidden Valley Middle School, Roanoke Co.
Independence Middle School, Grayson Co.
Louisa County Middle School, Louisa Co.
Northside Middle School, Roanoke Co.
Page County Middle School, Page Co.
Read Mountain Middle School, Botetourt Co.
Rodney Thompson Middle School, Stafford Co.
Shawsville Middle School, Montgomery Co.
Staunton River Middle School, Bedford Co.
Walker-Grant Middle School, Fredericksburg City
Tazewell Middle School, Tazewell Co.

Other Youth Organizations Participating:

REACH Homeschool Group, Orange Co.
Bristol’s Promise, Washington Co.

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