EARLY YEARS: Roanoke County students help spread message of safe driving during prom season
Spring is here, and that means prom season.
Studies show more teen drivers in Virginia will be involved in traffic crashes between May and August than any other time of the year.
Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety, or YOVASO is trying to keep that from happening.
" try to tell them, it can wait. Put it down. Or sometimes they'll have me text instead of them, since they're driving," says Hidden Valley senior Rachel Davis.
Fellow Hidden Valley senior Ariana Mandros agrees, "I keep my phone normally in the seat beside me or in the back seat, where I can't reach it, even if I hear it go off. I try not to have loud, distracting music. You always want to pay attention to the road."
Mandros and Davis, along with their friend, Samuel Byerly are members of the Prevention Club at Hidden Valley.
They're also working in conjunction with YOVASO, as it kicks off its Arrive Alive campaign.
School resource officer Brandon Smith helps guide their efforts, which often means standing up to their peers.
"I think it's good. I think we're in a culture now where kids younger and younger are starting to speak up and starting to realize the dangers , which is good," says Smith.
The message isn't just important for teen drivers.
Often it's their OLDER counterparts who are the biggest violators.
Hidden Valley senior Samuel Byerly says, "My 34- year-old brother does it. So, I can see- he's gotten to the point where he's so comfortable with driving that he just doesn't feel it necessary to worry as much."
The goal is to keep teens from developing bad driving habits in the first place.
The Arrive Alive campaign will spread its safety message through flyers.
Students will also sign a pledge to stay safe on prom night, and schools will hold mock crashes to show the consequences of impaired or distracted driving.
YOVASO's Arrive Alive campaign runs through May fourth. You'll find a link with more information about it to the right of this story.