State launches safe driving campaign

State launches safe driving campaign

(WWBT) - Teen drivers are getting an extra dose of caution in school this year, as the state launches a new safe driving campaign.

It's called "Steer Into The New Year" and promotes responsible driving, especially during the high-risk holidays. The campaign is being sponsored by  Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) and the Virginia State Police.

The program hopes to reduce teen fatalities.

"Last year in Virginia our teen drivers aged 15-20 were involved in 16 fatal crashes during the month of December, a significant increase over December 2015 when 6 teen driver-involved fatal crashes occurred", according to Mary King, YOVASO's program manager.  King said the 16 fatal crashes in December 2016 claimed the lives of 10 teen drivers ranging in ages from 16 to 20 and two teen passengers, ages 16 and 18.

King noted that one additional teen passenger was killed in a separate crash involving an older driver, bringing the total to 13 for the number of teen drivers and passengers killed in December 2016.

Several schools in Central Virginia are participating.

Students will take a pledge, design traffic safety floats, make safety ornaments for trees and use social media to encourage peer safety.

Here are some important tips for holiday driving:

  • Always buckle up
  • Slow down and obey speed limits
  • Avoid distractions, including putting away phones and all electronics
  • Limit teen passengers
  • Celebrate responsibly without drugs and/or alcohol

Schools can register to participate in the campaign by clicking here.

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