It Only Takes One

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for youth (15-20) in Missouri, accounting for nearly 11.8 percent of traffic fatalities during the last three years. Many factors including inexperience, alcohol, speeding, cell phones, and other countless distractions all contribute to these crashes, with many resulting in death. Research indicates that 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. It’s important that teen drivers realize it only takes ONE text, ONE drink, ONE call, ONE reach, 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.

The IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign is a competition between Missouri high schools that gives student groups the opportunity to educate teens, parents and their community about the dangers teens face while driving. The competition includes educational campaigns, surprise safety belt surveys and the creation of a public service announcement.

The links below will provide guidelines for carrying out an IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign in your school and community. Please read each page carefully, and then organize a meeting with an interested school group, SADD chapter or other school or community group to make plans for executing your IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign. The end goal is to change attitudes and behaviors of youth behind the wheel, therefore, decreasing crashes and saving lives.

Contact your Regional Coordinators to help with any additional questions you may have. Also, note that there are prizes available to schools for participating in the IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign. Keep reading to find out about how to get involved in educating youth, parents and community members about the dangers of distracted driving.

Education Campaign

The IT ONLY TAKES ONE Teen Distracted Driving Community Campaign is a chance for you and your student group to educate teens, parents and the community about the dangers teens face while driving.    

Between September and March, hold an IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign in your community.  Between March 13th and March 17th, submit a summary of your campaign online on the Participation Reporting Form, to qualify for one of the top grant prizes for your school. 

To qualify for the top school prizes in the IT ONLY TAKES ONE Campaign your group must complete the following requirements, in addition to a minimum of three additional activities (examples can be found under Campaign Ideas).   Please see the sample Campaign Timeline below.

  • Complete pre (October/November) and post (February/March) safety belt surveys in your community with a minimum of one month’s time between the surveys.  See the attached form for further instructions.
  • Utilize any IT ONLY TAKES ONE materials provided by your Regional Contact to educate teens, parents and community members.
  • Distribute the Adult/Teen Driving Contract to as many parents and community members as possible.  Collect completed forms to use for individual drawings during the campaign.
  • Distribute the Missouri Graduated Drivers License (GDL) law and Underage Drinking Fact Sheet to as many parents and community members as possible. 

Participation Reporting Form must be completed online by March 17th.


Campaign Timeline

To help keep track of deadlines during the campaign, see the timeline below.  Items in Bold indicate requirements to be completed in order to be qualified for prizes.

August - September

  • Register online
  • Prepare the education campaign
  • Schedule the 1st seat belt survey

October - November

  • Recieve campaign material from Regional Coordinators
  • Conduct 1st seat belt survey
  • Start education campaigns
  • Distribute Adult-Teen Driving Contracts
  • Distribute the Graduated Driver's License Law fact sheet to parents and community members (consider drawing a winner for those who distribute)
  • Make sure to use all provided materials to get the most exposure to the campaign and your group as possible.


  • Contact local media to make them aware of your IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign.  Utilize the provided press release.
  • Draw winners from the Adult-Teen Driving Contracts


  • Consider incorporating the IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign into prom plans.
  • Continue drawing winners from the Adult-Teen Driving Contracts
  • Continue education campaigns


  • Conduct 2nd seat belt survey and enter all survey results online under Report Seat Belt Survey Results
  • Enter all education campaign information online under Report Educational Campaign Activities
  • Register a team for the TRACTION - Teens Taking Action to Prevent Traffic Crashes, traffic safety leadership training program.  (contact Kacey Buschjost at 573-751-5413 or


  • Report all educational activities under Report Educational Campaign Activities (Must be submitted by March 17th)
  • Join us at our Annual Speak Hard Youth Conference


  • Celebrate Alcohol Awareness Month in your community by hosting a substance free activity for teens.
  • Tune into MYAA’s Alcohol Awareness Month activities, such as the virtual town hall meeting!


  • Awards ceremonies to be held at winning schools.
  • May 1st   – ARRIVE ALIVE Day!  Encourage everyone to wear an ARRIVE ALIVE t-shirt.  Don’t forget to promote this ahead of time!
  • Kick off National Youth Traffic Safety Month (May)! Consider including a letter from your administrator reminding students about the dangers that face them when behind the wheel. 
  • Celebrate National Youth Traffic Safety Month by holding awareness activities all month.


Seat Belt Survey Instructions

Below are the steps to follow to conduct your Seat Belt Observational Survey. 

Step 1:  Conducting Your Safety Belt Observational Surveys

  • Conduct two unannounced safety belt observational surveys.  One will be conducted toward the beginning of your campaign (a pre-observational survey) in the month of November.  The second (a post-observational survey) will be conducted toward the end of your campaign between February 15 and March 15. 

Step 2:  Selecting Your Observation Times

  • Be sure to choose your observation times when the highest number of vehicles are entering or exiting your chosen location.  Immediately before and after school are the most optimal observation periods.  Please be consistent with your time of day for each survey; for example, if you conducted your first survey in the morning, conduct your second survey in the morning.
  • Each observation period must be held for a minimum of 30 minutes or until the parking lot has mostly cleared (or filled).

Step 3:  Select Your Observation Teams

  • Two people are needed for the observation team: one observer and one recorder.
  • Youth, parents, teachers or other community members may serve on the observation teams.
  • The observer will observe and then verbally give the information to the recorder.
  • The recorder will use a small stack of Safety Belt Check Reporting Forms on a clipboard to fill out the data according to the ongoing verbal statements of the observer.

Observers:  Make sure you are able to clearly see the vehicle, driver, and front window seat passenger.  Sample as many vehicles as possible within the collection period while maintaining accuracy and randomness (for example, do not skip all SUVs because they are difficult to see into).  An example of what the observer might call out would be, “two occupants, driver, belted, passenger, not belted.”

Step 4:  Select Your Observation Point

The safety of the observation teams is the first priority.  When selecting specific locations to stand for observations, NEVER place yourself in a dangerous spot for the sake of the data.  Be sure to stand in a location that the drivers entering and exiting the parking lot can CLEARLY see you.  Here are some suggestions.

  • Choose a safe spot that is CLEARLY visible to drivers.
  • Avoid driveways. 
  • Stand in the parking lot, on a curb, on a sidewalk, or on the shoulder of the road.
  • Observe cars going in one direction only (entering OR exiting the parking lot). 

Step 5:  Get Permission and Prepare for Interactions

Coordinate all safety belt observations with the appropriate adults or authorities.  Be sure to let the location know exactly when and where your surveys will take place.  If asked by motorists what you are doing, indicate that you are involved in a traffic study.  Keep your interactions to a minimum.  If someone accuses you of collecting personal or private data (license plate numbers, etc.), assure the individual that no personal data is being recorded.  If at any time you feel uncomfortable with a person or situation, immediately suspend the data collection and return to your school. 

Step 6:  Collect Your Data

Please Note: Do not conduct the safety belt survey in unsafe weather.  Please reschedule if inclement weather occurs on the day you planned for your survey.  It is dangerous for the students and the drivers. 

As field observers, the observation teams are the key link in this effort.

  • Observation teams are to collect data on all varieties of motor vehicles, including cars, pickups, vans, and SUVs. 
  • Observation teams are to observe drivers, and front seat right-side passengers.  Do not observe front seat middle passengers or back seat passengers; it’s difficult to see if these passengers are belted, and you have a small amount of time to collect information.
  • Only count if the seat belt is worn correctly. The lap belt should fit snuggly across the upper thighs and not ride up on the stomach.   The shoulder part of the belt should fit across the collarbone and chest and not cut into the neck or face.  The shoulder belt should never be behind the back or under the arm.

Step 7:  Completing the Final Survey Form

The last stage of the safety belt observation is entering the information you recorded from BOTH surveys on the online Seat Belt Data Collection Form.


Additional Campaign Ideas

  • Contact local media concerning your IT ONLY TAKES ONE campaign a minimum of one time.  Utilize the template press release provided.
  • Register to attend the summer training program, TRACTION  - Teens Taking Action to Prevent Traffic Crashes. (contact Kacey Buschjost at 573-751-5413 or
  • Participate in the statewide poster contest for the Youth Seatbelt Enforcement Campaign. Contest runs from January 9th to February 27th. For more information, please contact
  • Schedule a First Impact class at your school. First Impact is a parent program that assists parents in understanding and enforcing the Missouri Graduated Driver's License Law. Head to for more information. To schedule a class contact Deana Dothage at 573-884-3463 or
  • Consider participation in the Safe and Sober Program (
  • Work with your administrators to pass a safety belt policy for the student handbook.  See the Sample Policy for guidance.
  • In addition to your safety belt surveys, consider collecting data on driver cell phone use. 
  • Create a distracted driving PSA to show to your student body.  Submit the PSA online for a chance to win additional cash prizes for your school. 
  • Contact ACT Missouri to learn about all the free resources we can offer your school or community.
  • Head to to find resources for your school or community.  
  • Present the AT&T It Can wait video from YouTube.
  • Use spring PTA meetings to share information about Missouri's Graduated Driver's License Law with parents. 
  • Promote the Adult-Teen Driving Contract to students and parents/guardians.  Consider posting the contract on your school website. 
  • Work with administration to include a parent letter educating on the Missouri Graduated Driver's License Law to go home with semester grades.
  • Hold a letter-writing campaign to legislators to educate about teen driver safety issues.
  • Create a simple viral media campaign via text messaging, facebook or youtube to educate peers about the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Hold a poster campaign with students to educate about teen driver safety issues.
  • Conduct a mock car crash at the school with the help of the fire, police and EMS departments.
  • Utilize the NOYS Community Engagement Guide at least one time during the campaign.  The toolkit is posted at
  • Plan to attend the Speak Hard Youth Conference with your student group.  Find details at  


School Handbook Policy

How do we begin the process of passing a safety belt policy for our student body?

Set a meeting date for a brainstorming session and invite interested parties to share their thoughts and ideas.  Consider asking SADD students, student council, faculty, school administrators, guidance counselors, PTA members, law enforcement officials, and members of the community to participate.  Your community may already have a registered substance abuse prevention coalition that would be interested in helping.  Contact ACT Missouri to find out!  Your planning session will benefit from the diversity of perspectives and will foster collaboration and a sense of community.  Discuss your goals, next steps, and time frames.  Set the next meeting date and assign roles, if necessary.  Keep in mind that this may not be a simple process, but everyone has a vested interest in accomplishing the same goal. 

School Handbook Safety Belt Policy Example 



West Community High School




Category: Rules and Regulations


File No: 18.75    Adopted: March 2014


All operators and passengers of motor vehicles are required to properly fasten safety belts when driving on school property.  Any operator of a vehicle in which the driver or any passenger is not wearing a safety belt or is not otherwise properly restrained in an infant or child seat will receive the following penalties:



First-time student offender will receive a written warning, and parent/guardian will be notified.

Second-time offender will lose parking privileges at the high school for two weeks, and parent/ guardian will be notified.

Third-time student offender will then have his/her parking privileges at the high school revoked for the remainder of the school year, and parent/ guardian will be notified.



Any other operator who is not a student will receive a warning and safety education material. Any school administrator, staff member, or police officer may report a violation of this policy to the appropriate school authority.

PSA Entry

The PSA should be a maximum of 30 seconds in length. Participants may enter as many PSA's as they like. Teachers may act as mentors or entrants, providing direction and supervision, as long as the entry is solely a student effort.

PSA's will be judged by a non-biased panel of individuals selected by their involvement with highway safety issues. The PSA's will be judged based on persuasiveness, logical organization, clarity, quality and creativity. Winning entries must:

Clearly communicate the importance of teens using safety belts whenever they drive or ride in cars, no matter who is driving.
Identify a target audience and feature a call to action.
Incorporate and clearly communicate the Buckle Up/Arrive Alive message.
Show original and creative ideas.
Be neat, clean, and professional in presentation regardless of format in which video is presented.


The public service announcement may be created any time during the It Only Takes One program.

To enter a video online:
Fill out the Online PSA Entry Form, upload the video. The videos will be stored in a secure location inaccessible to the public or other competition participants.


Each school competing in the Educational Campaign will be judged on the amount of school and/or community outreach conducted during the campaign.  A non-biased group of judges will review each schools activities, ensure all required elements were met, then review all additional activities conducted.  The activities will be judged on the following elements:

  • Number of activities conducted
  • Quality of the activities conducted
  • Amount of participation from school/community
  • Required activities completed

There will be 2 winning schools in each MoDOT District, which will receive a grant to be used to further educate the school and community on safe driving. 

Statewide Recognition:
Schools will also be eligible to receive statewide recognition for safety belt usage rates that reach the following levels during the 2nd safety belt survey:

  • Gold level: schools with 99-100% of students wearing safety belts
  • Silver level: schools with 95-98% of students wearing safety belts
  • Bronze level: schools with 91-94% of students wearing safety belts

Public Service Announcement (PSA) Competition

Grant money to the schools producing the top three winning 30-second videos to be used for further safety belt education.

  • Videos will be posted on SaveMOLives, YouTube, Facebook, & other social media sites.


Kacey Buschjost
830 MoDOT Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65102
800-800-BELT (2358)

(Counties of Atchison, Andrew, Buchanan, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Linn, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Sullivan, Worth)

Lisa Kellison
3602 North Belt Highway
St. Joseph, MO 64506-1399

(Counties of Adair, Audrain, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Warren)

Marisa Christy-Kerns
1711 Highway 61 South
Hannibal, MO 63401

Kansas City Area
(Counties of Cass, Clay, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Platte, Ray, Saline)

Michele Compton
600 Northeast Colbern Rd.
Lee’s Summit, MO 64086

(Counties of Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Howard, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski, Washington)

Becky Lenon
1511 Missouri Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO  65102

St. Louis Area
(Counties of Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Louis City, St. Louis County)

Heather Heil BSBS
Injury Prevention Outreach Coordinator
Barnes Jewish Hospital Trauma Services
Email :
Office : 314-747-3158
Cell: 314-305-8543
Fax : 314-362-8090

Lori A. Freeman  MS, MSN, RN, CNP, TNS, TCRN
Trauma Education & Injury Prevention Outreach Coordinator
Mercy Hospital, Trauma Services
Email :
Office : 314-251-6933
Fax : 314-251-5745

(Counties of Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Cedar, Christian, Dade, Dallas, Greene, Henry, Hickory, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Polk, St. Clair, Stone, Taney, Vernon, Webster)

Sara Jane Rust
Mercy Injury Prevention Center
1570 W. Battlefield, Suite 110
Springfield, MO  65807

Joe Rickman

(Counties of  Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carter, Douglas, Dunklin, Howell, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Ozark, Pemiscot, Perry, Reynolds, Ripley, Scott, Shannon, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Stoddard, Texas, Wayne, Wright)

Sandy Taurone
2675 North Main St.
Sikeston, Mo.  63801