TMA Bucks announced during National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 21-27) it is once again challenging Bucks County high school students to always use a seatbelt as the 12th Annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge & Video PSA Challenge officially begins.
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 excited to get this year’s challenge under way,” said TMA Bucks executive director Steve Noll. “This program simply delivers results as the total combined school average for baseline surveys this fall hit the 90 percent mark for the third consecutive year. Twelve years ago when we started the Seatbelt Challenge it was an extremely dangerous 65 percent, so the TMA, thanks to tremendous support from teachers and school administrations involved with the program, is making potentially life-changing advancements through this program.”
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 seat belt use within the student body using posters, t-shirts, school-wide announcements and other creative messages. In spring, an unannounced 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, 2019 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.
“Our news organizations are happy to continue having our Reality panelists participate in this effort,” said Karen Naylor, managing editor of the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer. “Our teen writers are an engaged group and take an active role in promoting safety among their peers. The TMA Bucks Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge is a great way to have the panelists take part in delivering such an important message.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic is the premier sponsor once again for this year’s challenge while Automotive Training Center (Warminster campus), Bucks County Community College, Bucks County Courier Times and Intelligencer, Jefferson Health – Northeast, McCafferty Auto Group, McMahon Associates, Senator Tommy Tomlinson, Stark and Stark, Univest and Visit Bucks County also sponsoring.
“Buckling up is the most important safety measure you can take to protect yourself in a crash,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by nearly half, which is why AAA is a proud sponsor of the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge. Seat belts, credited for saving nearly 15,000 lives in 2016, have become habit for most drivers, but not all drivers. 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. Conwell-Egan Catholic student drivers had the highest overall seatbelt use (97 percent) and also had the greatest percentage increase in seatbelt use over all schools at nine percent (88 % in fall to 97 % in spring). William Tennent High School was voted the winner of last year’s Teen Driver Video PSA Challenge powered by Comcast for the second straight year.