R-HHS Places Third in Statewide Driving Campaign

   Written by on June 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

By Crystal Vandegrift, Staff Writer

Sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), the Virginia State Police (VSP), and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office in partnership with Allstate and State Farm Insurance, the statewide safe driving campaign saw participation by dozens of schools across the Commonwealth.

Randolph-Henry students organized the “Arrive Alive Prom Promise” presentation. The day before the presentation, club members had a pledge signing day so they could have the banner on stage with them. Several speakers were invited to share their story of losing someone because of distracted driving or DUI. When students entered the auditorium, a video played in remembrance of a former RHHS student who was killed just last year. The sponsor opened the presentation by sharing the loss of her father in a motorcycle crash which resulted from distracted driving. An athletic director from a nearby school (who is also a volunteer firefighter) shared details of losing one of his students in a crash. The third speaker was a 2016 graduate of Randolph-Henry who spoke and shared the importance of not drinking and driving and how he lost his best friend three months after graduation due to drinking and driving. The last speaker was a graduate of RHHS and a star athlete who had also been in a crash which resulted from DUI. He explained how he had to learn to walk again and that drinking and driving is a selfish act. The presentation concluded with a Q&A session and more pledge signings. More than 60% of the student body attended the presentation.

More than 60 high and middle schools in the Commonwealth participated in the annual Arrive Alive campaign that ran from March 20 to May 5, 2017. The high school campaign focused on reducing risks and preventing teen driver-related crashes during the high-risk warm weather months and during prom and graduation celebrations. The middle school campaign addressed passenger, pedestrian and bike safety, as well as establishing safe driving attitudes and behaviors prior to the driving years.

Winners in the high school division were selected based on their Creative Project, which was developed by students and emphasized the Arrive Alive campaign theme and messaging. Randolph-Henry High School in Charlotte Court House received third place in the state after the judging.

“I am so proud of Randolph-Henry High School. The students have worked very hard and shown great maturity in advocating for the safety of their friends. Congratulations to a great group of students,” said Division Superintendent Nancy Leonard.

The Creative Project was given the highest weight and was judged on content, percentage of student involvement, and creativity. According to Casey Taylor, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator, other judging criteria included educational and awareness activities aimed at changing driving attitudes and behaviors and the results of pre and post campaign distracted driving checks to discourage distracted driving among students.

The results of the distraction checks showed a 12% overall decrease in distracted driving among students at participating schools from pre-campaign to post-campaign.

“Car crashes remain the number one cause of injury and death for U.S. teens aged 15-20,” explained Taylor. “Last year in Virginia we saw our first increase in the number of teens killed in crashes in four years. We don’t want to see that number increase anymore, and in order for that to happen we have to continue promoting peer-to-peer initiatives like Arrive Alive.”

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