TMA Bucks announced during National Teen Driver Safety Week it is once again challenging Bucks County high school student drivers to increase their seatbelt usage as the 11th Annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge & Video PSA Challenge is officially underway.
Baseline surveys of student driver seatbelt use have been conducted at every public and private high school in Bucks County. Surveys were conducted without the knowledge of the student body or administration in order to ensure the most accurate data sampling. Each school’s result is being forwarded to the administration with an invitation to participate in the challenge.
“TMA Bucks is once again excited to be challenging our high school student drivers in Bucks County to continue to make the right choice and always buckle up,” said TMA Bucks acting executive director Steve Noll. “This influential program continues to see encouraging results as the total combined school average for baseline surveys this fall hit the 90 percent mark for the second straight year since we started this initiative 11 years ago. When we began the Seatbelt Challenge it was an extremely dangerous 65 percent so we along with tremendous support from teachers and school administration involved with the program are making potential life-changing progress through this initiative.”
The Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge encourages participating high schools to raise their student driver seatbelt usage over the course of the year as various student groups at each school work to actively promote seatbelt use within the student body using posters, t-shirts, school-wide announcements and other creative messages. In spring, a follow-up survey is conducted at each of the participating schools. The school with the highest overall percentage in seatbelt use and the school with the greatest percentage increase in seatbelt use are both awarded with perpetual trophy plaques and $500 cash grants for safety-related use by the school.
Back again this year as part of the initiative is the Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge powered by Comcast. As part of the Seatbelt Challenge all Bucks County high schools have the opportunity to produce and submit a 30-second video PSA on teen driver safety. It can deal with any aspect including seatbelts, texting, distracted driving, speeding, etc. The school selected as the winner will get a $500 cash grant and their video will play on Comcast networking. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube with the link emailed to email@example.com by April 1, 2018 to be eligible to win. The winning video this year will once again be selected by teen writers from the Reality staff of the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer and will be featured online at www.buckscountycouriertimes.com and www.theintell.com.
“The newspapers’ Reality staff gives local teens a platform to report on and write about what’s important to today’s high school and college students,” said Amy Gianficaro, director of communications and community engagement for the Bucks County Courier Times and Intelligencer. “For the past several years, the Reality staff has taken pride in their contributions to the Video PSA Challenge because they know firsthand how important the issue of teen driving safety is in the lives of their peers. They are a creative and expressive group of young journalists, and this video project fits perfectly with the contributions they are making to local teen life through their work on Reality.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic is the premier sponsor once again for this year’s challenge while Automotive Training Center (Warminster campus), Bucks County Courier Times and Intelligencer, McCafferty Auto Group, McMahon Associates, Senator Tommy Tomlinson, St. Mary Medical Center Trauma Program, Stark and Stark, Univest and Visit Bucks County also sponsoring.
“Research shows that seatbelts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half, which is why AAA is a proud sponsor of the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Seatbelts, arguably the single most effective traffic safety device ever invented, have become habit for most driver, but we can do better. Considering that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, the Seatbelt Challenge by TMA Bucks helps to instill seatbelt use in teen drivers and their passengers now, so that it becomes a lifesaving habit throughout their lifetime behind the wheel.”
Last year’s challenge saw 19 high schools compete and Villa Joseph Marie High School had the highest overall seatbelt use (97 percent) while William Tennent High School achieved the greatest percentage increase as they posted a six percent jump in seatbelt usage from baseline surveys (79 percent in the fall to 85 percent in the spring). Tennent was also voted the winner of the Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge portion of the contest.