Minnesota teenagers, here’s your chance to go viral: Students in grades 9–12 are asked to produce a 30-second TV public-service announcement promoting the importance of buckling up or the dangers of distracted driving. The top teen will win $1,000 and their spot will air during the televised MTV Video Music Awards in 2013.
The Buckle Up and Pay Attention Teens! TV Commercial Challenge allows teens to choose their safety topic: seat belts or distracted driving. The contest is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety and AAA. The deadline for entries is Monday, April 15.
The contest’s finalists will be selected by DPS and AAA for a public online vote in May. AAA will award first-, second- and third-place winners with $1,000, $600 and $400, respectively.
“Traffic crashes are the leading killer of teens and this contest is one way to steer attention to common problems with teens behind the wheel,” said Gordy Pehrson, DPS teen driving coordinator. “When teens share their creations with peers, it enhances the value and importance of the message.”
Driver inexperience, risk-taking behavior, distractions, nighttime driving and seat belt non-use are the leading reasons for teen driving crashes and resulting deaths. In Minnesota during 2009–2011, 108 teen vehicle occupants (ages 13–19), were killed and only 35 (32 percent) were belted. Another 408 teens were seriously injured in crashes and only 226 (55 percent) were belted.
“Every year, new teen drivers take to the wheel, so it is critical we stay focused to educate them and keep them safe,” said Gail Weinholzer, director of Public Affairs, AAA Minnesota/Iowa. “This contest promotes teen enthusiasm and creativity to encourage safe driving behavior.”
2012 Contest Winner
The 2012 Buckle Up, Teens! contest winner was St. Michael’s Eli Guillou, who produced “Big Deal”— http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuiKZ0EnTqo. View contest-winning spots from previous years.
Parent Roles and Responsibilities to Develop Safer Teen Drivers
DPS urges parents to talk to their teens about the life-saving importance of seat belts, and the dangers and consequences of speeding, distracted driving and alcohol use.
Parents are encouraged to continue to provide supervised experience for their teen driver in a variety of conditions and road types and use a parent-teen driver contract to establish road rules, reinforce the laws and follow through with consequences. Find more teen driving resources for parents.
“Parent involvement is especially important during the first year of licensure, which is the most dangerous time for teen drivers,” Pehrson said.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic-safety-enforcement-and-education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. OTS also administers state funds for motorcycle safety programs and child seats for needy families.
OTS is an anchoring partner of the state’s Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety initiative. 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.
Office of Traffic Safety Highlights
• The annual Toward Zero Deaths conference is in Bloomington, Oct. 22-24.
• 1,842 impaired drivers were arrested for DWI during a statewide campaign, Aug. 17–Sept. 3.
• 23,285 speeders were ticketed during a July statewide speed campaign.
• OTS issued the 2011 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report, citing 368 traffic deaths for the year, the lowest since 1944 and a 44-percent reduction in deaths from a decade ago.
• More than 4,000 DWI offenders are using ignition interlock to benefit road safety and ensure legal, sober driving.
• Media are encouraged to download and broadcast or place OTS public-service announcements to advance road safety.
• Media are encouraged to localize traffic safety news by referencing county-specific crash facts.