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Villa Joe Wins 10th Annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge

Highway Safety News, TMA News | May 30th, 2017

TMA Bucks is happy to announce that Villa Joseph Marie High School is the overall winner of the 10th Annual Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge! Villa Joe student drivers had the highest overall seatbelt use (97 percent) over 18 other Bucks County high schools that participated in the challenge.

Villa Joseph Marie High School, which was also the overall winner during the 2008 and 2009 school years, will be presented with a $500 cash grant and perpetual trophy plaque for winning the challenge. The cash prize is donated by TMA Bucks and is encouraged to be used by the school for safety-related purposes. The school group that promoted the Seatbelt Challenge throughout the school year were the Peer Mentors under the direction of Dean of Student Affairs Marissa Brown.

“Explaining to your child the importance of seatbelt safety while driving is one thing; knowing our students do this every day and understand its importance is amazing,” said Villa Joseph Marie High School Principal Lauren Carr. “We are proud of our student body for earning this recognition and will continue to emphasize its significance.”

William Tennent High School, which achieved the greatest percentage increase for the challenge, will also receive a $500 cash grant and perpetual trophy plaque. William Tennent student drivers posted a six percent increase in seatbelt usage from baseline surveys last September (79 percent in the fall to 85 percent in the spring).

“We are so proud of our students for proactively addressing their own safety and behaving responsibly,” said William Tennent High School Principal Dr. Dennis Best. “Wearing a seatbelt is an excellent life habit to develop!”

TMA Bucks also announced in May that William Tennent was voted the winner of the Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge powered by Comcast, which is a component of the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge. Reality panelists from the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer voted for this year’s winning video.

In Fall 2016, baseline surveys on seatbelt usage by student drivers were conducted at high schools throughout the county without the knowledge of the student body or administration in order to ensure the most accurate data sampling. All schools were then challenged to raise seatbelt usage and participate in the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge. Various student groups then at each participating school promote the Seatbelt Challenge to all students throughout the school year in a variety of creative ways. Follow-up surveys took place unannounced in April and the winning schools were decided.

“TMA Bucks continues to be delighted by the positive results that are being delivered through the program,” said TMA Bucks executive director Bill Brady. “For the fourth consecutive year every school that took part in the challenge posted an increase from the fall baseline surveys to the final follow up checks this spring. That is a strong testament to the commitment the young drivers in Bucks County are making in terms of making the right choice to buckle up.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic was the premier sponsor 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 & Stark, Univest and Visit Bucks County also sponsored.

“Congratulations to the students of Villa Joseph Marie High School and William Tennent High School for stepping up and winning the Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge this year,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Car crashes are the leading cause of death for all teens, yet of all teens who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2014, more than half (53 to 59 percent) were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Research shows that seatbelts reduce serious crash-related injuries by 45 to 60 percent. Villa Joseph Marie and William Tennent students are certainly an example to be followed for all teen drivers when it comes to wearing seatbelts and potentially saving lives.”