Montgomery County high schools take part in seat belt challenge
All four Montgomery County high schools, along with Auburn Middle and Shawsville Middle, are taking part in a statewide competition to improve seat belt usage among teens.
Here’s a release from YOVASO, Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety:
A statewide challenge among high schools and middle schools to increase seat belt usage rates among teens and youth will kick off in Virginia on September 24.
The three-week challenge, “Save Your TAIL-Gate, Buckle Up” is designed to help youth develop a life-long habit of buckling up. It is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), The Allstate Foundation, and the Virginia State Police Association (VSPA).
During the challenge, student groups from 50 different schools will be competing against one another to increase seat belt use. Students will develop creative ideas for promoting seat belt use among their peers at school events and home football games. Each participating school will be judged on the quantity and creativity of their seat belt promotional activities, the percentage of students signing 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 free party for its students with food, music, prizes, and games.
“This is a unique campaign that challenges teams of students to convince their peers to buckle up and drive safely,” said Mary King, YOVASO Program Administrator. King said the competition among schools and the fun, football theme are appealing to youth.
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 2011, 83 teens were killed in crashes in Virginia. Of those 83 teens, 57% were not wearing safety belts. An additional 1,659 teenagers were seriously injured in crashes. The leading causes of these injuries and fatalities were speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving and running off the road and overcorrecting.
“If we can convince teens and youth to buckle up and form that life-long habit, we can save many young lives,” said King. “In many of the fatal crashes involving teens, the teens were ejected from the vehicle and this can be prevented by simply buckling up.”
The “Save Your TAIL-Gate, Buckle Up” challenge will end on October 15. Campaign winners in the high school and middle school brackets will be announced on October 19. The campaign is funded under a Virginia Highway Safety grant and an $11,000 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 107 active school clubs across Virginia, is administered by the Virginia State Police Association and funded through a grant from the Virginia Highway Safety Office. For more information, contact YOVASO at (540) 345-0003 or visit the website at yovaso.net
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