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Finalists Named in Drive Safe Chicago PSA Contest; Public Invited to Vote for Winner

Online voting opens today for $2,000 prize from The National Road Safety Foundation and debut showing at Chicago Auto Show.

Entries from three Chicagoland teens in the second annual Drive Safe Chicago PSA Contest have been selected as finalists, and the public now has the chance to vote online to select the winner.  The biggest vote-getter will receive a $2,000 prize from The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes safe driving.  The contest, held in conjunction with the Chicago Auto Show, invites teens to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving with a public service message.

The finalists, Dustin Payne, Paige Ruesch and Abigail Evans, are seniors at Washington Township High School in Indiana's Washington Township.  They had their scripts made into finished TV spots by the Emmy Award-winning producer of the nationally syndicated TV show Teen Kids News, who spent two days at the school working with the teens to shoot the public service messages.

"All our finalists have done a great job communicating the risks of distracted driving," said Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations at The National Road Safety Foundation. "Now we invite the public to help select the winner."

After viewing the finalists' spots on the Chicago Auto Show's Facebook page, people can cast a vote for their favorite public service announcement.  The winner will be announced Friday, Feb. 12 at the Chicago Auto Show and it will be shown on the show's social media video wall throughout the show, which is open to the public from Feb. 13-21.  It also will be broadcast later this year on more than 220 TV stations nationwide.

"Distracted driving is a serious risk that needs to be addressed at all levels," said Colin Wickstrom, 2016 Chicago Auto Show chairman.  "Today's cars are safer than ever, with many innovations that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in the event of one.  But driver inattention - distraction - continues to be a major factor in crashes.  We hope the Drive Safe Chicago campaign engages teens to be messengers both to their peers and to all drivers that distracted driving is dangerous driving."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates more than 3,300 people are killed every year due to distracted driving, and tens of thousands more are injured.  The most talked-about causes of distraction are texting and cell phone use, but drivers also can be distracted by use of other mobile devices like GPS, as well as adjusting sound system controls, talking with passengers or even eating.

Last year's winner was Rachel Diaz, a junior at Porter County Career Center in Valparaiso, Ind. 

People can cast their vote for their favorite commercial on the Chicago Auto Show's Facebook page via this link: http://bit.ly/1Sxa7ck. Information about distracted driving and the Drive Safe Chicago Contest can be seen at www.nrsf.org/teenlane/content/drive-safe-chicago.

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