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'Arrive Alive' Teen Safe Driving Campaign Begins

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File Photo: Stuarts Draft High School File Photo: Stuarts Draft High School
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A safe driving message for teenagers has kicked off in Virginia.

The Arrive Alive campaign focuses on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during warm weather months, including during prom and graduation season.

Students at about 60 high schools and middle schools, including Stuarts Draft High School and Wilson Memorial High School, will work in groups to develop programs and social media messages that promote safety in vehicles, including seat belt use.

The campaign is sponsored by the Virginia State Police and the group Youth of Virginia Speak Out. It is funded by a state Highway Safety Office grant.

Youth of Virginia Speak Out program development coordinator Casey Palmer says middle schools were added this year to get students to think about the importance of being safe in a vehicle long before they get a driver's license.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety News Release:Salem, VA – 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.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

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