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December 8, 2015
Colonel Flaherty Kicks Off 'Steer Safely Into the New Year!'
"Drive Responsibly Campaign for Teens" at Cosby High School in Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD CO., Va. — Colonel W. Steven Flaherty joined students at Cosby High School in Chesterfield County Tuesday morning to officially kick off a statewide campaign to encourage teens to “Steer into the New Year” by celebrating responsibly, driving safely, and buckling up throughout the holiday season. In an effort to challenge all students statewide to arrive safely back at school after the holidays, Colonel Flaherty along with the Cosby High Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO) Chapter were the first to sign the “Steer into the New Year, Drive Responsibly” pledge banner.

The Holiday Safe Driving Campaign, “Steer into the New Year,” is designed to help teenagers make it safely to 2016 by driving responsibly, buckling up, avoiding alcohol and drug use, and limiting distractions. It is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out (YOVASO), the Virginia State Police, and the DMV, Virginia’s Highway Safety Office.

During the campaign, students from 33 Virginia schools (see list of participating schools below) will “Steer it Forward” by signing an online pledge promising to drive safely, celebrate responsibly, and buckle up during the 2015 holiday season. The students are asked to keep the pledge going by sharing it with their friends and loved ones in the spirit of showing someone they care this holiday. The campaign focuses on responsible holiday driving, and offers tips for safe winter weather driving during inclement weather.

According to Virginia statistics, 17 people died in traffic crashes during the Christmas (2014) and New Year’s (2015) holiday weekends. Six percent of traffic fatalities during the holidays involved a drinking driver.

“Our goal for this campaign is to reduce the number of teen traffic fatalities throughout the holidays and to educate teens on the importance of celebrating responsibly,” said Mary King, YOVASO Program Manager.

To learn more about the Holiday Safe Driving Campaign “Steer into the New Year,” call Casey Palmer, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator at 540-375-3596. Information about the campaign is also posted at

YOVASO is Virginia’s peer-to-peer education and prevention program for teen driver and passenger safety. The program is part of the Virginia State Police and is funded by a grant from the DMV, Virginia’s Highway Safety Office. YOVASO began working with high and middle schools across the Commonwealth in 2001. YOVASO helps students develop safe driving behaviors when traveling in a motor vehicle, walking and biking.


2015 “Steer into the New Year” Participating Schools
Alleghany High School
Amherst County High School
Bluestone High School
Bristol's Promise
Brooke Point High School
Cave Spring Middle School
Central Academy Middle
Colonial Forge High School
Cosby High School
Courtland High School
Drew Middle School
Eastern Montgomery High
Fort Defiance High School
George Wythe
Henrico High School
Heritage High School
Jefferson Forest High School
Liberty High School/Bedford
Lord Botetourt High School
Luray High School
Monelison Middle School
Mountain View High School
Narrows High School
North Stafford High School
Page County High School
Park View High School
Randolph-Henry High
Stafford High School
Staunton River High School
Stuarts Draft High School
Tallwood High School`
West Point High School
William Monroe High / Middle School
Woodrow Wilson High School