It is time to see which high school in Bucks County will have the highest seatbelt usage this school year as we have announced during National Teen Driver Safety Week we are once again challenging Bucks County high school students to always buckle up as the highly successful 13th 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 thrilled to once again bring this results-driven initiative to Bucks County high schools,” said TMA Bucks executive director Steve Noll. “We cannot be more proud of the progress this program has made as the total combined school average for baseline surveys this past fall reached at least 90 percent for the fourth straight year, a far cry from the dangerously low 65 percent average back in 2008 when this life-saving program began.”
The Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge encourages participating high schools to raise their student driver seat belt 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1, 2020 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 Reality panelists are happy to once again participate in the judging of the TMA Bucks Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge,” said Crissa Shoemaker DeBree, news director for the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer. “These teens are engaged in and care about the communities in which they live and attend school. They know the dangers of unsafe driving, and take pride in helping to share this message with their peers.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic is the premier sponsor once again for this year’s challenge. Automotive Training Center (Warminster campus), Bucks County Community College, Bucks County Courier Times and Intelligencer, Fred Beans Family Of Dealerships, Jefferson Health – Northeast, McMahon Associates, Senator Tommy Tomlinson, Univest and Visit Bucks County are 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 seatbelts 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. Seatbelts, credited for saving nearly 15,000 lives in 2017, 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 20 high schools compete. New Hope-Solebury student drivers had the highest overall seatbelt use (97 percent) while Pennridge High School achieved the greatest percentage increase in seatbelt use over all schools at seven percent (88 % in fall to 95 % in spring). Pennridge also was voted the winner of last year’s Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge.