YPSO, State Police Recognize Driving Distracted Month with School Programs

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

The York County Safety Committee created a display of a car accident on Goodwin Neck Road for Distracted Driving Awareness Month (Courtesy York County)
The York County Safety Committee created a display of a car accident on Goodwin Neck Road for Distracted Driving Awareness Month (Courtesy York County)

Students at York High School will get a visit from the Grim Reaper on Wednesday morning.

Fourteen students will be pulled from their classrooms by someone dressed as the Grim Reaper to participate in the York County Driving Drunk and Distracted Program, which re-creates a vehicle crash in front of the entire student body.

Emergency responders from the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and the York County Fire and Life Safety will respond to the staged vehicle crash involving four York High School students in front of the school at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

After the mock crash, the 18 students and the emergency responders will go to Riverside Doctors’ Hospital for a mock ER trauma scene, and then the group will go to the York County-Poquoson Courthouse, where they will observe the process and procedures of a criminal trial.

Tips for Drivers

  • Buckle up every time.
  • Slow down and obey posted speed limits.
  • Limit the number of teen passengers in the vehicle and obey Virginia’s law that states teens under 18 may only carry one passenger under age 21 for the first year of licensure unless accompanied by a licensed adult.
  • Avoid “cruising” and joy riding with friends.
  • Obey Virginia’s curfew, which restricts teens under 18 from driving between midnight and 4 a.m.
  • Use technology responsibly, and don’t text and drive.
  • Pull over if you need to take your eyes off the road.

“The purpose of this program is to vividly present the life-changing events associated with driving drunk and distracted,” YPSO Lt. Dennis Ivey said in a news release.

On Friday, the participating team will present a video of Wednesday’s mock crash scene to the York High School student body.

In addition, the York County Safety Committee created a display of a car accident at the county’s operations center on Goodwin Neck Road for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The committee came up with the idea to display the crashed car — which is on loan for the month by Geico and Insurance Auto Auctions of Yorktown — last year to remind employees to drive safe.

Across the state, middle schools and high schools are participating in the “Arrive Alive” program throughout the month of April, which is National Driving Distracted Awareness month.

The “Arrive Alive” campaign is led by the Youth Of Virginia Speak Out and the Virginia State Police and consists of students working in peer-to-peer groups to develop programs and social media messages that “influence their peers to be safer in a vehicle,” according to a Virginia State Police news release.

Texting while driving has been a primary offense in Virginia since July 1. (Nicole Trifone/WYDaily)
Texting while driving has been a primary offense in Virginia since July 1. (Nicole Trifone/WYDaily)

Car crashes are the leading cause of injury and death for U.S. teenagers who are between the ages of 15 and 20, Youth of Virginia Speak Out Program Development Coordinator Casey Palmer said.

In addition, eight out of 10 crashes in Virginia are related to distracted driving.

For more information on the York County Driving Drunk and Distracted Program, click here or contact Lt. Dennis Ivey at 890-3665.

For more information on the “Arrive Alive” campaign, call Program Development Coordinator Casey Palmer at 540-375-3596.