Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) about Traffic Safety is Virginia’s peer-to-peer education and prevention program for teen driver safety. Our mission is to establish and support teen-led advocacy programs in high and middle schools throughout the Commonwealth that address unsafe driving behaviors and focus on the prevention of crashes, injuries and fatalities among young drivers under the age of 21. Through YOVASO, students work together in either a YOVASO or other school-based service-learning club to advocate for safer driving among their peers and to develop strategies that target the specific problems for young drivers in their schools and communities.
YOVASO’s three-step process includes programs to:
- Educate: Increase knowledge, leadership, and problem-solving skills among youth ages 11-20 for preventing and reducing traffic crashes and deaths among drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
- Engage: Youth in developing strategic prevention plans for their schools, communities, and youth groups.
- Empower: Youth to influence a safe driving culture in their schools and communities
YOVASO and its peer-to-peer clubs, address all factors in teen crashes, with emphasis placed on the following:
- Seat Belts: Increase awareness about the benefits of seat belts and increase seat belt use among youth and teens
- Speeding: Increase awareness about the dangers of speeding and reduce speeding among teen drivers
- Underage Drinking/Impaired Driving: Increase awareness about Virginia’s Zero Tolerance Law and reduce underage drinking and impaired driving among teens
- Distracted Driving: Increase awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and reduce distracted driving among teen drivers
- Defensive Driving: Educate teens about driving defensively and acquiring skills needed for crash avoidance and run-off-the-road recovery
- Virginia’s Teen Driving Laws: Increase awareness abut Virginia’s laws and reduce the number of teens who break these laws
- Risky Driving Behaviors: Increase awareness about risky driving behaviors and reduce these behaviors in teen drivers (driving with too many passengers, cruising, etc.)
- Driving Attitudes: Help change the attitudes of youth and teens and impact a generation of young drivers who are better informed about and committed to practicing safe driving habits and attitudes
YOVASO runs campaigns during the school year to promote safe driving habits. Student groups develop activities for their schools and enter their projects into a contest run by YOVASO. These campaigns include:
- Halloween Safety
- Save Your Tailgate
- Holiday Safety
- Arrive Alive
For information, go to http://yovaso.net/.