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Drive Safe Chicago Contest Invites Teens To Help Spread Message About Distracted Driving Risks

Teens from Chicagoland and Illinois and neighboring states are being invited to help spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving, as the fourth annual Drive Safe Chicago PSA Contest launches.  The contest invites teens to submit ideas for a 30-second public service announcement about distracted driving.  It is sponsored by The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes safe driving, in conjunction with the Chicago Auto Show, which runs from Feb. 10 - 19, 2018.

Three finalists will be selected and an Emmy Award-winning director will come to their schools to work with them to develop their ideas into finished TV public service spots.  The public will then be invited to cast votes online to select the prize winner, who will get a $2,000 prize.  The winning spot will debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show and will be shown on the show's social media video wall throughout the show.  It will also air on the nationally-syndicated TV show "Teen Kids News" on 220 TV stations nationwide.  The first runner-up will receive $1,000 and the second gets $500.

"Even as today's cars have technical innovations that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in the event of one, distracted driving continues to be a major risk for drivers," said 2018 Chicago Auto Show Chairman John Hennessy.  "We are pleased to have the Drive Safe Chicago contest engage young people as messengers to their peers and to all drivers that distracted driving is dangerous driving."

Teens who live in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa are invited to enter by sending a script or storyboard for a TV ad that reminds people not to drive distracted.   Entries must be received by Jan. 8, 2018 and the winner will be announced at the Chicago Auto Show.   All entrants will receive two free tickets to the Chicago Auto Show. 

Last year's winner was Hannah Christy, a high school junior from Crown Point, Ind.   Her PSA, which can be viewed at, shows a teen up late at night studying.  She gets up early and drives to school, yawning and struggling to keep her eyes open.  As she dozes and misses a stop sign, the screen goes black and we hear the sounds of a crash.  The spot closes with the words "Driving Drowsy can be a Nightmare." 

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.  Texting and cell phone use get the most attention, but drivers can be distracted by many other things including use of other mobile devices like GPS, adjusting sound system controls, eating and talking with passengers.

"Driving requires full attention, with eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and your mind on driving," said Michelle Anderson of The National Road Safety Foundation.  "We hope Drive Safe Chicago makes people of all ages - not only teens -- realize that driving is not something that can be multi-tasked." 

Information about distracted driving and the Drive Safe Chicago Contest, including contest rules and entry form, can be seen at     

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