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Working to Reduce Teen Crashes, One School at a Time

DuPont, WA, Oct, 15, 2010 – Despite increased awareness of the importance of seat belt use, and the dangers of distracted driving, car crashes remain the leading cause of teen deaths. Teens are four times more likely to get into car crashes than older drivers.

Alaska’s high school students are being encouraged to fight this epidemic through State Farm’s “Shift Into Safety” grant program.

Shift Into Safety encourages students to design and carry out campaigns to educate their classmates and community about the risks young drivers face - and how to reduce them.

The best campaigns earn grants of up to $5,000.

Since it was launched, over 110 high schools in State Farm’s Pacific Northwest Zone – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington -- have worked to improve teen driver safety. Students have tackled speeding, cell phones, seat belts and distractions.

Among 16-17 year olds, the main cause of teen driver crashes is inexperience mixed with either distractions, speeding or drunk driving, or some combination of these factors.

“We want our young drivers to get involved and work together in our communities to become safer drivers,” said State Farm’s Public Affairs Specialist, Walt Allen.

Students can organize themselves within a particular class, a student club, or as individuals simply coming together for a common cause. Each concept must clearly outline a plan for reducing crashes among teen drivers. Applications are due by December 20, 2010. State Farm will contact successful applicants by January 5, 2011 and award grants in February 2011. Projects must be implemented by the end of the school year.

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