Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Department of Motor Vehicles Virginia State Police Virginia Sheriffs' Association DRIVE SMART Virginia
Programs Forms Resources News Contact Home


August, 11, 2021
DMV Launches New "Local Heroes" Campaign
Tidewater/Hampton Roads Area First Responders Promote Seat Belt Safety in Ad Campaign Set to Run Through August 31

Buckle Up, Portsmouth

Buckle Up, James City County

Buckle Up, Newport News

Buckle Up, Williamsburg

Buckle Up, York

Buckle Up, Norfolk

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has launched its 2021 Local Heroes campaign, with an aim to decrease unrestrained traffic injuries and fatalities by encouraging drivers and passengers to wear their seat belts. In 2020, there were 343 unrestrained fatalities in Virginia. The five-year average (2016-2020) for unrestrained fatalities in Virginia is 311.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), proper seat belt use reduces the chance of suffering a fatal injury in a motor vehicle crash by nearly half. Unfortunately, too many Virginians are still not buckling up. In 2019 seat belt usage rates were 85.4% in Virginia. NHTSA considers any seat belt usage rate below 90% to be "low usage."

This year's campaign aims to change that. It features first responders, including paramedics, firefighters and registered nurses based in the Tidewater region, who share their experiences to help emphasize the lifesaving habit of wearing a seat belt. The multimedia initiative, which includes 30-second videos, bus banners and radio spots, demonstrates to the motoring public that first responders care about their communities and want them to buckle up when they get behind the wheel, regardless of how far the trip is or what speed they may be driving.

"We are proud to debut this new 2021 Local Heroes campaign, which highlights the dedication our first responders have to highway safety," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "This is an important opportunity to promote seat belt safety across the Commonwealth. Seat belts save fifteen thousand lives a year, so buckle up, Virginia."

The Local Heroes campaign will run in the Tidewater/Hampton Roads area through August 31 with a focus on each of the six localities featured in the videos: James City County, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Williamsburg and York County. Ads will run across digital and social media, the radio, public transport and gas station TV. The videos are available on Virginia DMV's YouTube Channel.

For more highway safety information, visit To learn more about Virginia's goal to achieve zero traffic deaths, visit

# # #

Contact: Jessica Cowardin
(804) 367-6834