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Arrive Alive aims to keep teen drivers safe

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 and youth groups are kicking off a statewide teen safety campaign this week to establish safe driving and passenger safety behaviors.

The campaign, called Arrive Alive, is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) and focuses on the increased risk of teen driver crashes during the spring and summer months.

Throughout the campaign, high school students will lead peer-to-peer programs on speed prevention and seat belt use while middle school students will focus their messaging on being a safe passenger and always buckling up.

According to the Virginia DMV, 63% of young driver-related fatal crashes in 2020 were speed-related and 63% of the teens (ages 15-20) killed in crashes in 2020 were unrestrained.

“Although young driver-related crashes were down in 2020 in Virginia, we had an alarming 12% increase in fatalities among young drivers to risky behaviors such as speeding and not wearing a seat belt,” Mary King, YOVASO program manager, said. “If we are going to save lives, we need our youth to use their positive influence to change these high-risk behaviors and attitudes.”

All teens are encouraged to get involved in Arrive Alive by asking friends and peers to buckle up and leading efforts in schools and communities to make speeding and other dangerous driving behaviors unacceptable.

To address the seriousness of speeding among teens and buckling up among young drivers and passengers, YOVASO’s Arrive Alive Campaign offers several opportunities for students, schools and youth groups to take action.

The Creative Entry Competition is the highlight of this year’s campaign, providing an option for student groups to participate, once again, in a behavior-changing project for a chance to win cash prizes. High school and middle school student groups will compete separately. All creative entry messaging must be related to the Arrive Alive campaign theme by addressing speed prevention at the high school level and seat belt use at the middle school level.

All entries will be judged on content, creativity and student involvement with prizes awarded as follows: first place- $300, second place- $200, and third place- $100. Entries are due May 12 at 5 p.m. Winners will be announced May 24. For guidelines and the entry form, visit the YOVASO’s website.

Youth ages 11-20 may also participate in the campaign by registering for the free #ArriveAlive21 Kit that includes driver and passenger safety resources, activity ideas, summer recipes and other fun items like sunglasses and stickers. Students who register for a kit will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Winners will be randomly selected every two weeks starting April 16 and continuing throughout the month of August.

YOVASO will also be giving away $50 to three schools or youth groups that continue activities and/or promotion throughout the summer months. These winners will be randomly selected at the end of June, July and August.

For more information or to register for free campaign materials for your school or youth group, contact Casey Taylor, program development coordinator, at (540) 739-4392 or visit the campaign landing page.