SALEM — More teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between the months of May and August than any other time of the year, statistics show. To help save lives and prevent crashes during the high-risk warm weather months, Virginia schools are kicking off a statewide teen safety campaign today (March 6) to develop driver and passenger safety behaviors among youth and teens. The peer-to-peer campaign, Arrive Alive – It’s a Whole Vibe, focuses on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during the spring and summer months and during prom and graduation.
According to preliminary data for 2022, 5,917 crashes involved a teen driver during the spring/summer months from May through August. Additionally, 21 teens aged 15-19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 1,914 were injured, and 237 were seriously injured in crashes between the months of May and August.
Fifty high schools, middle schools, and youth groups are participating in Arrive Alive — including Mecklenburg County High School — which is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) and the Virginia State Police.
Participating schools and youth groups will take part from March through May by completing activities that educate and remind teens to buckle up, drive safely, and to celebrate prom, graduation, and other fun events without drugs and alcohol. Middle school students will focus their messaging on being a safe passenger, bicyclist, and pedestrian.
There are two options for participating: non-competing and competing. Schools and youth groups that elect to compete will be required to complete pre and post seat belt checks and a creative project that reaches a majority of the students at their school or in their youth group. Non-competing schools may register to receive materials and complete any activities of their choice.
“We encourage all schools, youth groups, parents, and teens to join the free Arrive Alive campaign and help keep our youth safe during these upcoming high-risk months,” said Mary King, YOVASO program manager. “No teen wants to ruin a fun vibe, whether it be a party, a day at the lake, or a night out with close friends, by experiencing a crash. Through Arrive Alive, we can all work together as parents, schools and communities to do our part in making sure our teens buckle up, drive the speed limit, put away distractions, and avoid alcohol and drugs every time they get in a motor vehicle.”
Arrive Alive is funded by a grant from the Virginia DMV. In addition, grants from State Farm support prizes and educational incentives and materials.
Each school and youth group that competes in Arrive Alive will submit their campaign entry at the conclusion of the campaign to be evaluated based on activities completed, the effectiveness and creativity of its creative traffic safety project, the percentage of students reached, and the percentage increase in the school’s seat belt usage rate by the end of the campaign.
Prizes funded by State Farm will be awarded to the top three participants in the high school and middle school division as follows: first place, $500; second place, $250; and third place, $100. The winners will be announced on June 16, 2023.
“At State Farm, we want to keep drivers and passengers safe on the roadways,” said State Farm spokesperson Dwayne Redd. “This campaign is a creative reminder to young drivers to always make good choices, slow down, and buckle up. With these actions, the number of accidents, serious injuries and deaths will be reduced.”
For more information or to register your school or youth group for the *Arrive Alive *campaign or to request parent resources, contact Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator at (540) 739-4392 or visit the campaign page at https://www.yovaso.org/arrive-alive/.
YOVASO is Virginia's Peer-to-Peer Young Driver and Passenger Safety Program and is a program of VSP with grant funding by the Virginia DMV. YOVASO is free and open to all Virginia high schools, middle schools, and youth groups. YOVASO currently has 87 schools and youth groups that actively participate in the program.
For a list of tips to help keep teen drivers safe during the high-risk warm weather months, go to https://www.yovaso.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Tips-to-Keep-Teen-Drivers-Safe-During-High-Risk-Months.pdf.