"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Thu, Jun 2nd, 2011
Posted in State of Minnesota

ST. PAUL - For a second year, teenage students from Stillwater Area High School won the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS)-AAA Don't Drive Distracted, Teens! TV Commercial Challenge. Minnesotans can view the winning spot, "Football" - featuring a texting football player crushed by the opposing team - and the other finalists atwww.rockthebelt.org, click on the Don't Drive Distracted, Teens! link.

Producer Alex Emmons' winning spot received 2,913 (38 percent) of the total 7,632 votes during the two-week voting period that started May 10. He will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize from AAA, and DPS will air the spot statewide during the MTV Video Music Awards, Aug. 28. Last year, another group of Stillwater teens won for their spot, "Moms Alcohol and Texting."

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers due to inexperience, seat belt non-use, distractions and risk-taking behind the wheel. In the last five years, 192 teens were killed in crashes.

1st Place - "Football" (2,913 votes) - $1,000 cash prize from AAA

Alex Emmons, Stillwater High School, Stillwater

2nd Place - "Mom Isn't Always Watching" (1,389 votes) - $600 cash prize from AAA

Jared Arentson, Redwood Valley High School, Redwood Falls

3rd Place - "Don't Text and Drive" (1,290 votes) - $400 cash prize from AAA

Nate Smith, Perpich Center for Arts Education, Golden Valley

4th Place - "Concentrate, Drive, Get There Alive" (1,080 votes)

Andrew Jewell, home school, St. Louis Park

5th Place -"Talkative Cell Phone" (960 votes)

Holly Mickelson, Spectrum High School, Elk River

DPS officials say now is a smart time for parents to re-engage with their teens' driving - before summer, historically the deadliest season on state roads. Officials say parents should set rules and limitations for teen drivers, and establish limits on nighttime driving and number of passengers. Parents should also reinforce traffic laws - such as the primary seat belt law; ban on texting/web access/electronic communication; and ban on cell phone use for drivers under age 18.

DPS offers a teen-parent driver contract and driver skills checklist at www.dps.state.mn.us/ots; click on "Teen Driving."

The Don't Drive Distracted, Teens! contest is a component of the state's core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD). A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists support a goal of zero road fatalities by practicing and promoting safe and smart driving behavior. TZD focuses on the application of four strategic areas to reduce crashes - education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.

To-date in Minnesota in 2011, there has been 102 traffic deaths, compared to 133 at this time in 2010.

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