EARLY YEARS: YOVASO launches statewide campaign to encourage young drivers and passengers to buckle up

Uptick in the number of deadly crashes involving teens not wearing seat belts
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 5:37 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - According to Youth of Virginia Speak Out, or YOVASO, 65 teenagers were killed last year in crashes in Virginia. Of those, 56% were not wearing seat belts. YOVASO is working to lower those numbers.

More teenagers in Virginia are losing their lives in crashes, because too many aren’t buckling up.

And it’s not a new problem.

“We did have a fatality from our school, so we do try to, ‘like this happened’, so to prevent that, buckle up and try to help other kids,” says 11th grader Bailey Dills.

Dills is deeply involved in the YOVASO chapter at Liberty High School.

“We’re trying to get T-shirts and masks that say YOVASO or Liberty YOVASO. Just trying to get more involvement in our school,” she says.

YOVASO is hoping that interest extends statewide.

It just started a virtual campaign called “Drive for Change: Buckle Up and Slow Down.”

So far, 2020 has been a deadly one for teens on the road.

According to the Virginia DMV, 37 teens were killed from January 1 through August 31.

Of those, 19 were unbelted.

As an incentive for students to sign up for the online campaign, YOVASO is offering a Drive for Change Kit. It’s for youth ages 11 to 20.

Along with a coffee mug, fall candy, and other goodies, the kit contains buckle up reminder cards.

“It has the logo on one side and on the other side it says, “Buckle up, I need you here with me,” and so just a really powerful message I think to say please buckle up, just to make that easy choice just to snap the seat belt in,” says Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator for YOVASO.

As a young driver herself, Dills say she really wants to see the statistics go down.

“You need to wear a seatbelt. It’s not a game. Like, you are driving a car that’s two thousand pounds that can hurt you,” says Dills.

To register for “Drive for Change,” click here.

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