State Farm® Offers Safe Driving Grant to South Dakota Schools
Brookings, SD, Jan. 4, 2011 – South Dakota students passionate about preventing distracted driving will be offered a new grant opportunity to support their efforts, thanks to a partnership between Miss South Dakota Loren Vaillancourt and State Farm.
Two South Dakota schools will receive grants to implement anti-distracted driving programs. The total dollar amount of the grants will reflect the number of people who “like” Vaillancourt’s online diary of her personal campaign against distracted driving. State Farm will donate up to $10,000 for the grant program.
Vaillancourt’s video diary will be posted on the State Farm Teen Driver Safety Facebook page starting today and continuing through the Miss America pageant on Jan. 15. The number of “likes” will be tracked from Jan. 4 - 15.
In May 2009, Vaillancourt lost her only sibling because of the consequences of distracted driving. As Miss South Dakota, Vaillancourt is in a unique position to share her family’s emotional story about what happened to her 21-year-old brother Kelson and draw attention to the terrible risks associated with distracted driving.
State Farm shares Vaillancourt’s concern. A US News & World Report analysis in March 2010 ranked South Dakota the least safe place for teens to drive in the United States. The report examined 11 factors that affect teen driving safety, ranging from teen driver fatalities to laws regarding how quickly teens are able to earn unrestricted driving privileges to the average number of miles residents drive within the state.
“Dangers on the road affect 100% of people in our nation. When people take unnecessary risks and drive distracted it kills innocent people,” Vaillancourt said. “No family should have to go through the pain my family has endured.”
A recent State Farm survey shows that despite concerns about getting into an accident, most teen drivers still lack awareness. In the survey of 14 to 17 year olds who intend to have or already have a driver’s license, 70 percent of teen drivers admitted to being nervous about being in a crash or hurting someone. But despite these concerns, 57 percent of teens admit to reading or sending text messages while driving.
In recent months Vaillancourt has reached out to South Dakota schools to tell her brother’s story and share what it’s like to lose a loved one to a senseless accident. State Farm has supported her travels and presentations.
In the days before the Miss America pageant, Vaillancourt will blog about her experiences and her anti-distracted driving platform on www.facebook.com/#!/sfteendriving. Beginning Jan. 17, State Farm will accept grant applications from South Dakota schools at www.statefarm.com/southdakota. Applications close March 31 and grant winners will be announced in May.
“State Farm is proud to offer this grant to help bring awareness to distracted driving in South Dakota,” said Terry Barton, Vice President for South Dakota. “We also appreciate Loren’s commitment to educating the public and saving lives by generously sharing her personal experience.”
Please continue to visit www.statefarm.com/southdakota for soon to be posted grant program rules.
Ann Avery, State Farm Insurance at (402) 327-4551.
State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. Our 17,800 agents and more than 66,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 34 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.