Two Suffolk schools medal in Seat Belt Challenge

Published 3:55 pm Thursday, March 21, 2024

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Suffolk, Va.  – Drive Safe Hampton Roads (DSHR) recognized nineteen local high schools for their participation in the Get It Together Seat Belt Challenge. Thanks to students’ efforts, seat belt use by teens increased 7.96% percent from the program’s starting baseline percentage, making it 87.60%. This is higher than the state average belt use of 75.6%. In addition, four area high schools increased seat belt usage over 15% from their baseline use rate.

 Students and faculty involved in the program stressed the importance of wearing seat belts every time students ride in a vehicle. Strategies included seat belt checks, pledge drives, videos and poster contests, as well as other educational activities. Schools earned points for activities which attributed to medal level awards. 

King’s Fork High School won Silver with a total of 1,525 education points and 78.65% seatbelt usage. Lakeland High School won Bronze with a total of 225 education points and 99.32% seat belt usage.

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Participating high schools are from the cities of Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg/James City County, and York County.  

For a list of medal winners, visit the website: 

 “The Get It Together Seat Belt Challenge is a long-standing program that promotes the lifesaving message to buckle up,” said Holly Dalby, Get It Together Chair. “School faculty and students worked together to find creative ways to enforce the buckle up message throughout their schools, and they all finished as champions. The program has been in area high schools since 1995.”  

 According to the DMV, in 2022, there were 4,038 teens (age 15-19) involved in crashes in Hampton Roads, resulting in 1,241 injuries. Sixty three teens between the ages of 15-19 died on the roads of the Commonwealth with six of those fatalities in Hampton Roads. Programs such as the Get It Together Seatbelt Challenge are critical in Virginia’s high schools, spreading the message and educating teenagers of the importance of wearing a seatbelt. 

 Since 1995, Drive Safe Hampton Roads has positively influenced the traffic safety habits of over 850,000 students. The Christopher King Foundation, State Farm®, AAA Tidewater Virginia, and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles provide funding for the program. 

“AAA Tidewater Virginia is proud to be part of the Get It Together Seat Belt Challenge for the 26th year,” said Holly Dalby, AAA Tidewater Director of Public Affairs & Marketing. “These schools and students work hard throughout the year promoting seat belt use to their peers, teachers and families. The program makes a lasting impression on all involved and increases seat belt use, which ultimately saves lives.”