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South Anchorage High School Students Tackle Teens’ No. 1 Killer

Anchorage, AK, February 26, 2010– Students at South Anchorage High School has earned a $4,500 grant from State Farm Insurance to educate their peers and the community about the dangers of distracted driving.

South Anchorage High School is amongst one of 20 schools earning “Shift into Safety” grants from State Farm, the nation’s largest auto insurer and a leader in teen driver safety efforts. The company this fall offered schools grants of $2,000 to $5,000 to craft campaigns to help change teens’ thinking, and behavior, behind the wheel.

Local State Farm agent Amy Jones will present the check to South Anchorage students at a school assembly on Friday, Feb. 26, at 1:20 p.m. Led by advisors Debi Bye and Laura Kimmel, South Anchorage student Samantha McNelly applied and earned a grant for their project, “South Anchorage High School Every 15 minutes 2010,” which will tackle the problems of distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  Students managing the project will convey their multifaceted message through several realistic demonstrations and a school assembly.

State Farm offered the “Shift Into Safety” grants to high schools within its six-state Pacific Northwest Zone—Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Eighty-five schools applied, and State Farm awarded just over $72,000 in grants to 20 schools in January.

“We’re thrilled with the response to ‘Shift Into Safety,’ said Maria Ventura, Public Affairs Specialist. “We think this message of safe driving is best carried to teens by their peers, and these innovative projects will do just that.”

Statistics show young drivers are four times more likely to get into a car crash than older drivers. And the risk is especially high for 16-year-olds.

The winning “Shift Into Safety” grant projects focus on speeding, distractions, aggressive driving, seat belts, impaired driving, and several other critical safety issues for teen drivers. State Farm looked for campaigns that would motivate young drivers to think first and foremost about getting to their destinations safely and to change their behaviors accordingly.

About State Farm

State Farm® insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve over 75 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.7 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com®.

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