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Finalists Named in Drive Safe Chicago PSA Contest, PSA to Debut at Chicago Auto Show

Entries from three area teens in the third 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 PSA with the highest number of votes 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, invited teens to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving with a public service message.

The finalists, Payton Ball, 18, Mackenzie Taulbee, 17, and Hannah Christy, 17, are all students at Porter County Career Center in Valparaiso, Indiana. Their teacher, Bob Phelps, brought the contest to the attention of his classes, and more than three dozen of his students entered. In all, nearly 70 entries came in from throughout the Chicago area.

The finalists will be working with the Emmy Award-winning producer of the nationally syndicated TV show Teen Kids News, that is bringing a crew to the school to work with the students to make their scripts into finished 30-second TV spots that will debut at the Chicago Auto Show Media Preview on Friday, Feb. 10. The winning spot will also air later this year on more than 220 TV stations nationwide.

"We are happy that so many young people have used their creativity to help educate their peers about the risks of distracted driving," said Michelle Anderson, director of operations at The National Road Safety Foundation. "Choosing the three finalists was a real challenge, but now we invite the public to help select the winner."

After viewing the finalists' spots on the Chicago Auto Show Facebook page, people can cast a vote online for their favorite public service announcement. Online voting will remain open through the end of the day on Feb. 9 and the winner will be announced Friday, Feb. 10 at the Chicago Auto Show. The winning spot will be shown on the show's social media video wall throughout the public show, which is open Feb. 11-20.

"Distracted driving is a serious risk that needs to be addressed at all levels," said Mike McGrath, Chicago Auto Show chairman. "While today's cars are safer than ever, with many innovations that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in the event of one, driver inattention continues to be a major factor in crashes. We think all the Drive Safe Chicago finalists have done an excellent job communicating the message 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, specially teens, can also can be distracted by too many passengers in the car, use of other mobile devices like GPS, as well as adjusting sound system controls, talking with passengers or even eating.

The winner of Drive Safe Chicago last year was Abigail Evans, then a senior at Washington Township High School in Indiana. Rachel Diaz, who was a student at Porter County Career Center in Valparaiso, Indiana, won the first Drive Safe Chicago contest in 2015. 

Information about distracted driving and the Drive Safe Chicago Contest can be seen at     

For more information on the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, please visit

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