JEFFERSON CITY – The statewide competition “It Only Takes One” is accepting applications from Missouri high schools to win prizes while educating young drivers about safe driving habits and safety belt use.

The 2019 competition is sponsored by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety and ACT Missouri and is from Oct. 1 to the end of the school year.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people 15 to 20 years old. Research indicates driver distractions are the primary cause of fatal collisions. In addition, one of the greatest risk factors faced by teens is the number of passengers in the vehicle. Studies have confirmed that with the presence of just one passenger, teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

The coalition reminds teen drivers it only takes one text, one drink, one call, one reach and one distraction to cause one fatal moment but that one clicked seat belt could be the difference between life or death in a car crash.

“Nearly seven out of 10 young drivers and passengers killed in 2018 Missouri vehicle traffic crashes weren’t buckled up,” Jon Nelson, executive committee chair for the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, said. “Through education, competition and fun, the ‘It Only Takes One’ campaign can make a difference with young Missourians and save lives.”

The program consists of two surprise safety belt checks at each high school to measure student safety belt usage and includes creative educational campaigns that promote safe driving throughout the school year. In addition, schools have the opportunity to submit a 30-second video spot aimed at encouraging their peers to buckle up and drive safe.

Grant funding prizes are awarded to schools with the most creative and impactful educational campaigns and public service announcements. The grant funding will be used to further educate the students on the importance of safety belt use and safe driving habits. Statewide recognition will be awarded with a banner to schools with the highest safety belt usage rates.

ACT Missouri is a private not-for-profit corporation established in 1991 to promote drug and alcohol awareness throughout Missouri. Funded by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, ACT Missouri keeps track of state facts, policies and trends when it comes to drug use.

Schools can enter the competition at before Sept. 30.

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