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With prom coming up, teen driving safety takes forefront

SoVaNow.com / April 12, 2018
With the Halifax County High School prom just days away and warm spring weather around the corner, members of YOVASO (Youth of Virginia Speak Out) are stepping up their efforts to impress upon teen drivers the importance of safety behind the wheel.

YOVASO members — both students and law enforcement officers — appeared at Monday night’s meeting of the School Board to give trustees an update on their work. The local chapter now has some 45 members with Sarah Reaves serving as the coordinator at Halifax County High School.

YOVASO members hold regular meetings with students to talk about problems such as lack of seat belt usage, distracted driving, excessive speed on the roadways and drinking and driving.

On Friday, YOVASO members and local State Troopers will conduct a program entitled “Project Impact” which stresses good driving techniques and alerts youths to the dangers may face as they drive. According to Virginia State Trooper Brad Crews, who heads the program, 1,702 youths between the ages of 15 to 20 died in crashes on Virginia highways from 2002 to 2017. Of that number, 20 were from Halifax County. Four were killed in 2016.

Once the YOVASO chapter began in Halifax County two years ago, however, no fatal crashes were reported in 2017. Crews said he feels that talking about the dangers of driving has encouraged youths to take risks seriously.

Georgia Daniels, a student at Halifax County High School and YOVASO member, told school trustees about her experience with dangerous driving. She credited the use of seat belts with saving her life after she was involved in a single vehicle crash. In that wreck, Daniels said, she was driving her Jeep when she overcorrected, causing the vehicle to flip several times.

She is now a strong supporter of YOVASO and the education programs that the group sponsors. Previously, a survey found that only 60 percent of the high school drivers wore their seat belts, Daniels said, but after YOVASO started offering a program on seat belt usage, that percentage has now risen to 85 percent.

Crews thanked Dave White with State Farm Insurance for his financial support of the club, as well as Larry Clark with the Halifax County Public Schools Foundation and others for their support.

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If your child intends to go to parties after Prom, require that they come home before those parties. Change of clothes, offer snacks, time to just slow down, learn who the driver is...Won't cooperate with that? Why?


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