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The Chicago Auto Show Encourages Local Teens to Submit Distracted Driving Campaigns in Third Annual "Drive Safe Chicago” Contest

For the third year, the Chicago Auto Show has partnered with the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) to host the "Drive Safe Chicago" contest and generate awareness about distracted driving. The "Drive Safe Chicago" contest invites teens from Illinois and neighboring states to submit ideas for a 30-second public service announcement about distracted driving.

The top three student finalists, determined through online voting, will have the chance to work with an Emmy Award-winning TV producer to turn the script into a public service announcement that will debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show and air nationwide. In addition, the Chicago Auto Show Chairman will award the winning student during a special presentation at the show's Media Preview and the NRSF will present him or her a check for $2,000. The award presentation is held in conjunction with the Chicago Auto Show, which runs from Feb. 11-20, 2017.

"Distracted driving is a serious risk that needs to be addressed at all levels," said 2017 Chicago Auto Show Chairman Mike McGrath, Jr. "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."

Last year's "Drive Safe Chicago" award recipient was Abigail Evans, a senior at Washington Township High School in Indiana. Her video featured four teens in a car making plans to go ice skating. As they talk excitedly, numbers flashed on the screen: 3,154 people are killed every year due to distracted driving; 424,000 people are injured each year; and 10 percent of drivers under 20 in fatal crashes were distracted. As the teens are talking, the driver decides to text a friend to tell her to meet at the skating rink. Distracted, she crosses the center line into the path of an oncoming car. As we hear screaming and the sounds of a crash, the screen goes black and the following appears: "Don't be just another number. Don't text and drive."

Distracted driving doesn't just mean texting. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 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 is not something that can be done safely while multi-tasking," said National Road Safety Foundation Director of Operations Michelle Anderson. "We hope 'Drive Safe Chicago' will engage young people to spread the message and change behavior."

Information on the "Drive Safe Chicago" contest, including the contest rules and entry form, can be found at The contest entry deadline is Dec. 14, 2016. All entrants will also receive two free tickets to the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. For more details or photos, please contact Mark Bilek, [email protected], or Jennifer Morand, [email protected]

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