Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety
News Release:

SALEM, VA— Fifty high and middle schools across Virginia are kicking off a statewide campaign to increase seat belt usage rates among teens and youth. (See list of schools below)

The three-week challenge, “Save Your TAIL-Gate, Buckle Up” will encourage youth and teens to develop a lifelong habit of buckling up. It is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), the Virginia State Police (VSP), and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office. The Allstate Foundation is sponsoring the campaign through a generous grant that is funding educational materials for participating schools. The grant is also funding prizes for the high and middle schools that place in the top three for their programs to encourage seat belt use among students.

During the three-week challenge, student groups from schools across the state will compete against one another to increase seat belt use among teens and youth. Students will develop creative ideas for encouraging seat belt use among their peers at school events and home football games. Each participating school will be judged on the effectiveness and creativity of its seat belt educational programs, the percentage of students submitting online pledges to buckle up, and the percentage increase in the school’s seat belt usage rate by the end of the campaign. The high school that wins the challenge will receive a recognition celebration for its students with food, music, prizes, and games sponsored by the Allstate Foundation.

“This is one of our most exciting campaigns throughout the school year, said Casey Palmer, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator. “A lot of our clubs kick off the campaign during home football games, adding to the excitement yet bringing a serious reminder to teens of the risks of not buckling up and driving unsafely.

According to Virginia statistics, teens between the ages of 16 and 20 are less likely to buckle up when riding in a motor vehicle than other age groups. In 2014, 67 teens were killed in crashes in Virginia. Of those 67 teens, 43% (29) were not wearing safety belts. An additional 952 teenagers were seriously injured in crashes.

“While we see a 33% decrease in the number of teens killed in crashes (not wearing safety belts)in our state from 2013-2014, the numbers are still very high,” explained Palmer. “It’s our goal this campaign will help us help our youth and teens develop a lifelong habit of buckling up.”

The Save Your TAIL-Gate, Buckle Up Campaign will end on October 9. Campaign winners in the high school and middle school brackets will be announced on October 22. All prizes are being funded by a grant from The Allstate Foundation.

YOVASO is Virginia’s peer-to-peer education and prevention program for teen driver safety. Through YOVASO, teens work to advocate for safer driving among their peers and to develop positive prevention strategies for their schools and communities. The nonprofit organization, which has approximately 130 active school clubs across Virginia, is administered by the Virginia State Police and funded through a grant from the Virginia Highway Safety Office. For more information, contact YOVASO at 540-375-3596 or visit the website at yovaso.org.

Schools Participating in the 2015 “Save Your Tail-Gate, Buckle Up” Challenge:

A G Wright Middle School, Stafford County
Alleghany High School, Alleghany County
Altavista High School, Campbell County
Amherst County High School, Amherst County
Auburn High School, Montgomery County
Auburn Middle School, Montgomery County
Bassett High School, Henry County
Blacksburg High School, Montgomery County
Bluestone High School, Mecklenburg County
Cave Spring Middle School, Roanoke County
Central Academy Middle School, Botetourt County
Christiansburg High School, Montgomery County
Cosby High School, Chesterfield County
Courtland High School, Spotsylvania County
Dan River High School, Pittsylvania County
Eastern Montgomery High School, Montgomery County
Floyd County High School, Floyd County
Forest Middle School, Bedford County
Fries School, Grayson County
Galileo Magnet High School, Danville
Grayson County High School, Grayson County
Heritage High School, Lynchburg City
Hidden Valley High School, Roanoke County
Hidden Valley Middle 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
Narrows High School, Giles County
Northside High School, Roanoke County
Northside Middle School, Roanoke County
Page County High School, Page County
Page County Middle School, Page County
Parkview High School, Mecklenburg County
Patriot High School, Prince William County
Randolph-Henry High School, Fairfax County
Rodney Thompson Middle School, Stafford County
Shawsville Middle School, Montgomery County
Shirley A Heim Middle School, Stafford County
Stafford High School, Stafford County
Staunton River High School, Bedford County
Stuarts Draft High School, Augusta County
Tunstall High School, Pittsylvania County
Turner Ashby High School, Rockingham County
West Point High School, King William County
William Byrd High School, Roanoke County
William Campbell Combined School, Campbell County
William Fleming High School, Roanoke City
Wilson Memorial High School, Augusta County