SALEM, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s youth are speaking out about buckling up. Schools and youth groups across the Commonwealth launched a statewide campaign Monday to increase seat belt usage among teens and youth.

Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) Drive for Change: Buckle Up and Slow Down is a peer-to-peer campaign that encourages youth and teens to get in the lifelong habit of wearing seat belts.

YOVASO is a Virginia State Police program that receives grant funding from the Virginia DMV.

The program reminds youth that seat belts are the best defense against injury and death in a crash. It also addresses speeding as a leading factor in fatal crashes involving teen drivers. According to YOVASO, 65% of the deadly crashes among teen drivers in Virginia were speed related.

“The statewide Drive for Change Campaign is a free and fun way for schools and communities to help our teens develop life-long safe driving habits that will reduce their crash risks and save lives,” said Mary King, YOVASO program manager.  “We know that peer influence is key to getting young drivers to change their behaviors and this campaign gives teens the resources to have a positive influence at the local level. We encourage all communities to sign up and work with teen groups to lead the change for young driver and passenger safety.” 

Beyond seat belt and speed prevention, the campaign also teaches middle school about occupant protection safety, their rights in a vehicle, and the importance of developing good habits before they’re driving year.

For more information or to register your school for this campaign and free materials, contact Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator at 540-739-4392 or email Registration can also be completed at