Join Miss South Dakota, State Farm Insurance and the South Dakota Safety Council as they raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving at the first annual 5 K Walk/Run in Sioux Falls.
Sioux Falls, S.D., March 28, 2011 - Every 26 seconds. That's how often a car crash involving drivers using a cell phone or texting occurs in the United States. In other words, an estimated 636,000 car crashes are caused by cell phone use and texting annually, according to a National Safety Council report.
South Dakota is not immune to the growing problem of distracted driving. Just ask Miss South Dakota Loren Vaillancourt, who has made it her personal mission to raise awareness about this issue. In May 2009, Loren lost her only sibling, Kelson, 21, because of distracted driving. Earlier this month, Vaillancourt shared Kelson's story for the ‘Faces of Distracted Driving' video web series, part of a U.S. Department of Transportation national campaign.
“Loren has done an amazing job as Miss South Dakota by sharing her painful story with thousands of people, hoping they will think twice before they take unnecessary risks while driving,” said Terry Barton, Vice President for South Dakota for State Farm. “With her help and the South Dakota Safety Council, we're holding a 5 K walk/run this summer to call attention to this issue, educate and ultimately change behaviors.”
Raising awareness is a crucial step to decreasing the number of crashes and saving lives, according to Vaillancourt. She has traveled the state since taking the crown, speaking with schools, parent groups and civic organizations about the risks and consequences of distracted driving.
“Distracted driving is intentional neglect that endangers other people on the road. People on the road like my brother, your family, and your friends,” said Vaillancourt. “These crashes are 100 percent preventable. My brother Kelson's crash was 100 percent preventable. I can tell you that nothing is worth this kind of loss, this kind of pain.”
“There is a deadly cost associated with distracted driving and one of the key components of prevention is awareness and education,” said Diane Hall of the South Dakota Safety Council.
“This race is a great opportunity for people to come together for a common purpose: decrease the number of crashes and save lives.”
The first annual 5 K walk/run, “Join the Race against Distracted Driving,” will be held in Sioux Falls at Howard Wood Field on Saturday, June 11 at 9 a.m. To register for the race, go to www.allsportcentral.com and search for the race by title or date. Cost to participate is $5 per person, $15 for families (limit of 5), and $30 for corporate teams (limit of 10).
“Before the race starts, we'll present two K-12 schools each with a $5,000 Drive the Dollars grant check for their anti-distracted driving campaigns,” Vaillancourt shared. “The grant application is still available until March 31st; so please check out www.statefarm.com/southdakota to learn more about this great State Farm grant opportunity available exclusively for South Dakota!”
Melissa Paulik, State Farm Insurance at (402) 326-0695.
State Farm insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve over 75 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.7 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com®.