CHEYENNE, Wyo - The Wyoming Department of Transportation is using peer-to-peer messaging to encourage teenage drivers to buckle up.
WYDOT Public Affairs Office's high school banner program features photos of high school students along with a message encouraging students to wear their seat belts.
Public Affairs Photographer Rick Carpenter has been traveling the state over the past few years, getting photographs of the students and creating the banners.
“These are one of the ways we are engaging with the youth of Wyoming to help spread vital safety messages,” said WYDOT Director Bill Panos. “It’s important to impress upon our kids safe driving habits and these banners are the perfect platform for us to do that. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to work with these Wyoming kids.”
Carpenter has photographed students at most Wyoming schools. A school’s athletic director or administrator selects the students Carpenter photographs. Those students are most often athletes but can also be from band, choir or other clubs. Students recognized for academic achievements also have been featured.
After Carpenter photographs the students, he then creates the banners. School officials hang the banners in common places in a school such as the gymnasium. Carpenter also creates posters for the students, who can then give them to family members and friends.
“This program enables us to get an important safety message about buckling up in Wyoming schools where there are young drivers,” said Cody Beers, public relations specialist for the northwestern corner of Wyoming. “It’s their friends and classmates who are delivering this message. Peer-to-peer is much more effective because it’s someone their own age delivering this message.”
WYDOT’s ultimate goal is to work with every school in the state as time and schedules permit.