Car crashes are a leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old in the United States, second only to teen suicide. Teen drivers are at a higher risk of being in a car crash due to driver inexperience. That lack of expertise — coupled with speeding, distracted driving or other risky behaviors — makes teens more likely than any other group to suffer serious injuries and fatalities when driving.
Sponsored by State Farm and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and coordinated by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s (TTI’s) Teens in the Driver Seat® (TDS) program, the 16th annual Driving the Message Contest challenged teen advocates to get creative in convincing their peers to drive safely. Each year, TDS members across the nation submit posters and videos to compete for cash prizes for their schools ranging from $250 to $1,000.
“State Farm is proud to be connected to a program that supports safe teen driving and helps reinforce our mission to create safer, stronger and better educated communities,” says State Farm Corporate Responsibility Analyst Desiree Ramirez.
This year’s winners for poster design are:
- 1st Place: Mackenzie VanDyke, Trumbull Career and Technical Center, Warren, OH
- 2nd Place: Joely Donnell, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fort Worth, TX
- 3rd Place: Alexis Flores, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Fort Worth, TX
- Teen Choice Award: Taylor Pumphrey, Frisco Career and Technical Education Center, Frisco, TX
- Sponsor Choice Award: Sriananya Chaganti, Frisco Career and Technical Education Center, Frisco, TX
In addition to the poster design winners, this year’s video winners include:
- 1st Place: Elizabeth Wicker, Norfolk Senior High School, Norfolk, NE
- 2nd Place: Twyla Tarter, Will Donaldson, Kenneth York, Madalyn Burns, Mallory Whiten and Ayden Goodman, Whitewright High School, Whitewright, TX
- 3rd Place: Addison Stump, Hananiah Smith, Brina Guan and Jaden Orlandi, Amherst Steele High School, Amherst, OH
- Teen Choice Award: Athena Chen and Kavya Dewangan, Frisco Career and Technical Education Center, Frisco, TX
- Sponsor Choice Video: Kaylee Hornback and Keith Kibler, Frisco Career and Technical Center, Frisco, TX
Besides recognition in the contest, entries will be used throughout the TDS program for outreach and education to influence teens to improve unsafe behaviors that contribute to car crashes in their communities.
“Our Driving the Message Contest is just one of the many initiatives we undertake to promote behavior change in teen drivers,” says Lisa Minjares-Kyle, manager of TTI’s Youth Transportation Safety Program. “The safety messages created by these teen advocates are incredibly powerful and have the potential to save lives. They may not realize it, but their efforts can make a real difference to their friends, families and communities by encouraging safer driving habits and preventing tragic crashes.”