TOT at Champlain Valley Union High School

YSCVT Presenter Paul Burroughs brought the Turn Off Texting demonstration to Richard Ritter’s driver education class at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg today. Here’s photos!


Heritage Toyota’s 5-Part High School Safety Fair Video Series Launches!

Words & Video by Heritage Toyota.

“On May 5, 2017, Heritage Toyota was proud to partner with Mount Abraham Union High School for their day-long Safety Fair. Students helped plan and prepare for months to host a fair with a wide range of safety topics, including driver safety.

These are the first videos of a 5-part series exploring the role of safety in the community, and why it’s essential to teach children how to be safe. The Mount Abe Safety Fair was made possible with a grant from Co-operative Insurance Companies and other community support from Bristol Fire Department, Bristol Police Department, Middlebury Regional Emergency & Medical Services, Inc, Vermont Highway Safety Alliance and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program as well as many community faculty and parents. Our thanks go out to everyone who helped to make this important day possible.”

Ford Driving Skills for Life

Free Advanced Driving Skills Class for Teens Presented by Ford in Essex Jct.

The free Ford Driving Skills for Life advanced driver education course for teens is touring to Vermont! A limited number of registrations will be accepted at

Register to learn skills that aren’t taught in regular driver education classes — take a next step in skills building as a new driver!

Chief Gibbs

‘Thanks!’ From Mt. Abraham Union High School for Successful Safety Fair!

On a grey Friday, Mt Abraham Union High School hosted an inaugural Safety Fair in collaboration with the Youth Safety Council of Vermont and many area volunteers and organizations. The day began with a “Mock Crash” organized by students in the Mt Abe Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program (VTLSP). As part of their year long effort to increase health and safety awareness among their peers, these students planned the event which brought student actors, members of the Bristol Fire, Rescue and Police Departments and the Middlebury Rescue Department together to stage a simulated crash scene caused by distracted driving.

As the high school students and teachers looked on, emergency responders arrived on the scene, securing the vehicles and addressing the staged medical needs of the students. A narrator explained the process and the likely outcome for the driver who caused the crash with his distracted driving. Attorney General TJ Donovan was on hand and shared a strong message urging students to take their own and others’ safety to heart. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. Through this dramatization, VTLSP and the emergency responders hoped to highlight the real and tragic results of distracted and impaired driving to encourage students to use safer driving practices.

VT Attorney General TJ Donovan

After the Mock Crash, high school students moved on to a full day of safety related workshops as part of the May 5th Safety Fair. Volunteer presenters offered over 25 different workshops covering topics from Tire Safety and Emergency Kits to Drugs 101 which taught students the effects of various drugs on driving skills, and from Healthy Relationships to Ending Distracted Driving. The Safety Fair was the result of a months-long collaboration of MAUHS students and teachers, the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, community members, businesses, and safety experts from around Vermont. The goal was to offer students a day filled with opportunities to think about and learn about personal safety on the road and in many other aspects of their lives. With the help of a generous donation by Co-Operative Insurance, the school was able to offer scholarships for students to complete CPR certification, provide lunch for the guest presenters, and identify student volunteers with bright Safety Day t-shirts.

While the day began with a somber reminder of the risks of distracted driving, students ended the day with a festive reminder of how much their community cares about them. Thanks to donations from local businesses and individuals as well as AT&T, the final send-off of the day was an assembly where Principal Jess Barewitz reminded students to keep themselves and each other safe because, “You are loved,” followed by raffle-style giveaways to those who participated in the day.

Many thanks to everyone who made this Safety Fair possible, including Attorney General TJ Donovan, Co-Operative Insurance, Buy Again Alley, Green Mountain Shoe and Apparel, Bristol Fire, Rescue and Police, Middlebury Rescue, AT&T, Heritage Ford and Toyota, the Youth Safety Council, Mt Abe school store and yearbook, Bill Mitchell, Annemarie Altadonna, Associated General Contractors of VT, Vermont State Police, UVM Medical Center, VT Department of Health, Sharon Huntley, TextLess Live More, Langrock Sperry &Wool, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, Amanda Bolduc, WomenSafe, Elliot Cluba, Vermont Family Forest, Fire ProTec, Sharon Compagna, AAA of NNE,  Trooper Flansburg, VT Fish and Wildlife, Jim Carter and Tammy Shackett, Pierre Cotton, Local Motion, Middlebury College, UVM Extension, VT National Guard, ANESU Food Service, TurningPoint Center, Hallstrom Racing, Parent Child Center, student actors and make up artists, and the teachers, staff and students at Mt Abe!

(Report provided by Sharon Koller of Mt. Abraham Union High School. Photos by the Youth Safety Council of Vermont).

Community Thrives

Please Vote (Every Day!) to Help YSCVT Make Young VT Drivers Safer!

Thanks to the amazing energy and dedication of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance and the staff of the University of Vermont Medical Center and Vermont Department of Health, a team that includes the Youth Safety Council of VT has a chance at grant funding for a statewide high school safety fair program.  Please follow the link to cast your vote in support of this competitive effort — it requires a show of community support, and that would be you!

Safety Fair Planning

Mt. Abe to Host Personal Safety Fair for Students May 5

Collaborative Community Project Brings VT Organizations to High School Campus

BRISTOL:  On Friday, May 5 Mt. Abraham Union High School will host workshops and presentations by numerous organizations, creating a day-long, campus-wide event with a ‘personal safety’ theme for students. The fair, developed by faculty and students in partnership with the Youth Safety Council of Vermont and with support from Co-operative Insurance Companies, will showcase safety knowledge from across Vermont.

The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.1 The safety fair is meant to have a positive impact on Mt. Abraham’s student drivers, so they might choose to drive thoughtfully for their own benefit and the safety of others. A mock crash will be the central educational experience of the fair, presented by students in the Mt. Abraham Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program (VTLSP) in conjunction with Bristol Fire, Police and Rescue Departments. A scripted, simulated crash will reveal the potentially tragic outcomes of distracted driving, wearing no seat belt, and bad decision-making. Mock crashes are dramatic educational tools that complement consistent messaging and prevention programs.

Participants in the fair include Barrett’s Trucking, who will bring a ‘big rig’ to help young drivers experience the blind spots that the drivers of large trucks face. The Vermont State Police will present forensic crash reconstruction techniques. Motorcycle safety will be addressed by Ride Safe VT, and Sharon Huntley will speak about the tragic loss of her teen son, Spencer, in a distraction-related crash. The Youth Safety Council will present ‘Turn Off Texting,’ with students driving a golf cart while texting to learn first-hand how dangerous distracted driving can be, and AT&T will be there with their It Can Wait campaign, talking about the dangers of texting while driving. Teen race car driver Evan Hallstrom will be on hand to talk about the importance of safety belts.  Many other organizations including the Vermont Department of Health, UVM Medical Center, Alive At 25, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, AAA Northern New England, WomenSafe, FireProTec, Middlebury College, Heritage Toyota and Ford, Bristol Rescue, Bristol Police, TextLess LiveMore and other community volunteers will be on campus to present information and interact with students. In addition to the VTLSP student group, students in the Mt Abraham senior civics class have stepped forward to help plan and implement the event, taking positive civic action in their school community.

Mt. Abraham principal Jessica Barewicz said, “An amazing team of teachers, students, and community members are thoughtfully planning a meaningful experience for all at the Safety Fair. They know that as school community we need to understand that the concept of safety needs to be taken in many directions. Without a safe educational and living environment humans can’t learn and thrive. I’m so grateful for the work they are doing to engage the whole community in a conversation about safety.”

With the assistance of Heritage Ford, faculty, students and volunteers will help document the event to create an online reference guide, building on the work of the Youth Safety Council to publish a directory of free safety programming available to Vermont schools, The new guide will help other Vermont high schools produce similar safety fairs with confidence and easy access to many freely available programs.

Sharon Koller, Student Assistance Program Counselor at Mt. Abraham and advisor to the student “VTLSP” club, facilitated the event planning. She said, “Our school is committed to preparing students to make decisions that have positive consequences for themselves and others. This Safety Fair expands on that commitment, giving students even more insight and information to help them independently be safer on the roads and in their daily lives.”

James Lockridge, Executive Director of the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, said, “Vermont can look to the people of Bristol and our safety community across the state for a model of collaboration. This project exemplifies the vision of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance which inspired this safety fair effort.” The VHSA is a non-profit organization that brings together highway safety stakeholders from all over Vermont, including state agencies and law enforcement as well as federal partners, insurance companies, and nonprofit organizations,

Contact: Sharon Koller,, (802) 453-2333.

About Mt. Abraham Union High School: Mt. Abraham is a Grades 7-12 public middle/high school in the village of Bristol, serving the Five Town district of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven, and Starksboro. Mt. Abraham is part of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union (ANESU) and works to create and maintain a stimulating and respectful environment in which all are engaged, all pursue and promote learning, and all participate as active, responsible citizens.

About the Youth Safety Council of VT: The YSCVT uses golf carts and an advanced driving simulator to demonstrate the dangers of distraction to Vermont’s student drivers. With support from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and sponsors, the ‘Turn Off Texting’ program is free to high schools and community groups statewide.

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality facts: teenagers 2014. Arlington (VA): The Institute; 2014 [cited 2016 Sept 20].

Photo: Faculty, students, and community members plan the Mt. Abraham safety fair. Clockwise from left:: Sharon Koller, Student Assistance Program Counselor; Kevin Masse, Driver Educator; James Lockridge, Executive Director, Youth Safety Council of Vermont; Anne Friedrichs, Social Studies Teacher; Siena Hoaglund and Satinder Pabla, students. Photo courtesy Youth Safety Council of Vermont. Full resolution file available at

Distracted Driving Month

Txt U L8R at UVM Medical Center: April is Distracted Driving Month

April is National Distracted Driving Month. To promote teen driver safety, UVM Medical Center is offering the Txt U L8R program to students and their families. Everyone is encouraged to participate!

 Txt U L8R ProgramTexting while driving has quickly become one of the greatest hazards on the road. It causes 1.6 million car crashes and 330,000 injuries per year, and approximately seven teen deaths every single day. That’s why the UVM Medical Center and the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at the UVM College of Medicine created “TXT U L8R” a unique program designed to discourage individuals from texting while driving. Key elements include a demonstration of an advanced driving simulator, presentation of a realistic trauma scenario, a testimonial from the victim of an accident caused by a teen driver who was texting, and a demonstration of several smartphone apps designed to prevent texting while driving.

Funding is available to assist with transportation costs. For details, contact

WHEN: Monday, April 10th,  6pm-7:30pm

WHERE:  UVM Medical Center, UVM Medical Education Pavilion, Sullivan Classroom (111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington).

Register at:

For more information, email

UVM Medical Center

The Try Guys Try Distracted Driving

The Try Guys teach us that “driving isn’t about winning. It’s about not losing.” (Happy holidays from the Youth Safety Council of Vermont!)

Nov. 16-22: National Teens Don’t Text & Drive Week


November 16-22 is National Teens Don’t Text & Drive Week. Here’s a great article at the Shreveport Times. Parents: Remember to set the best example!

YSCVT Board Member Norman James

YSCVT At The 2016 Vermont Highway Safety Alliance Annual Meeting and Conference


Owen Smith, Regional Vice President, External Affairs at AT&T, presents at the VHSA Annual Conference. AT&T is a generous sponsor of Turn Off Texting.

The Youth Safety Council of Vermont attended the Annual Conference of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance on October 26. It was held at the beautiful Mount Snow Resort in Dover and brought together safety-minded professionals from all over the state. Here’s a few photos of Youth Safety Council family members! For more photos of the event, visit the Google Photos album.

Stephanie Busch, YSCVT board member.

Stephanie Busch, YSCVT Board Member and the Emergency Medical Services for Children Coordinator at the Vermont Department of Health, with the Health Department driving simulator.

Glen Button, Chair of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance.

Glen Button, Chair of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance.

Photo at top: Norm James, YSCVT Board Member and Project RoadSafe program manager at The Associated General Contractors of Vermont.