According to a press release from Amherst Exempted Village Schools, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for young people in America, and most of them are not related to drugs or alcohol.
Instead, most fatal accidents involving teenagers involve reckless and distracted driving, the press release said.
For the past four years, students at Marion L. Steele High School of Medical Health Technology have committed to fighting this preventable health epidemic by creating and launching a social media campaign and hands-on learning activities that provide a framework for positive community Using Norming (PCN) to address the problem of reckless and distracted driving, the press release said.
The Just Drive Contest is made possible by NJM Insurance Group and hosted by Impact Teen Drivers, a national non-profit organization that, according to the press release, has a vision to transform driving culture into a distraction-free culture.
Impact Teen Drivers works with champions of all ages and backgrounds — from students and teachers to healthcare professionals and first responders — to develop and deliver evidence-based tools and programs that enable good in-vehicle decision-making, the release says.
Peer-to-peer messaging is a critical component to transforming driving culture.
By adopting a positive community norms framework—one that reinforces the positive behaviors and beliefs of drivers and passengers, rather than focusing on risky behaviors—students can harness the power of perception to create better driving and driving habits in the wider community cultivate, according to the press release.
The March 27-April 10 Just Drive campaign is an opportunity for teachers or counselors to engage student leaders in developing empowerment strategies and solutions that address reckless and distracted driving, according to the press release.
Students leading the effort developed their critical thinking and problem-solving skills by conducting research and building strategic communication, as well as improving their technical and creative writing skills, the release said.
Campaigns will be judged on content, creativity, message effectiveness and community engagement.
The winning campaigns will be announced in May.
The awards, facilitated by NJM Insurance Group, will be awarded to schools with the best campaigns as follows: First Place, $10,000; second place, $7,500; and third place, $5,000.
“Thank you for your commitment to making our community safer by helping us stop the number one killer of young people – car crashes,” the press release reads. “Together we can bring about meaningful behavior change that will not only save lives in this generation of drivers, but also in generations to come.”
For a detailed event schedule, collaborations, questions or to get involved, contact Kim Haney at [email protected] and follow the campaign on Twitter @mlswellness.