YOVASO Students Ask Parents To Get More Involved

Forest, VA-Wednesday night, students at Jefferson Forest High School asked their parents to get more involved in teaching safe driving. It was part of YOVASO's effort to reduce the number of teen driving deaths.

Two young men who spoke were involved in terrible accidents themselves. And one of them also lost his girlfriend in a crash back in November. They both hit on the importance of staying involved with your teen's driving, especially, leading by example.

"Ended up losing control on a gravel road, and wound up striking a tree and we rolled several timesI didn't really think I'd make it out of that, but thankfully I'm here today," said Michael Carter, a member of YOVASO.

"My truck slid across the road, flipped, and landed on the passenger sideIt was scary," said Adam DaPonte, another member of YOVASO.

One of the most tragic stories was that of DaPonte. Weeks after he survived his wreck, his girlfriend, Ashley Barton, was killed in another.

"Every day, going from having everything to having nothing, not really, no words can really describe it," said DaPonte.

He says that's why he's a part of YOVASO.

"I want people to hear my story and know the pain that I go through every day."

By telling his story, he hopes to inspire parents.

One such parent is Edward Richards--father of four teenagers, three of which are driving.

"We've expressed to our children how important driver safety is," said Richards.

Richards says their family has a routine for learning to drive, and his children know the rules.

"By habit they have to put their seatbelt on when they get in the car, and they just have to know that they can't use their phone at all," he said.

But the number one rule, is, and should always be, leading by example.

"It can always kind of be hard to avoid the mistakes that teenagers will make sometimes, but I feel like leading by example is probably the biggest thing that can be done to prevent any wrecks or any accidents of any type," said Carter.

Wednesday's event is something YOVASO puts on every year at Jefferson Forest. But students say this year, after losing so many friends, it hit a little closer to home.