Woodbury, NJ, (October 19, 2012) Since 2000, nearly 150 people have died on Gloucester County roads. Many of those fatalities included young drivers. Earlier this month, representatives from the Gloucester County Prosecutors Office Highway Safety Taskforce and State Farm Insurance met to present a grant commitment and to embrace an opportunity to reinforce teen driver safety on area highways and roads.
The $2000 State Farm grant will be invested into the Taskforces annual High School Video Contest. The contest encourages high school students to team up and produce videos depicting the dangers of certain driving habits. Students will have a choice of topics. In 2012, the topics included (1) Driving Under the Influence, (2) Distracted Driving (Cellular phone usage / texting), and (3) Seatbelt Usage. Students team up to produce a 30 second video depicting the dangers and consequences. The Grand Prize winning video is aired on commercial television, in addition to prizes for the top ten (10) videos. The contest is open to any high school student residing in Gloucester County. The program, which began in 2004, has had over 400 students participate.
The presentation was held at local State Farm agent Fred Burtnetts office in Woodbury and was attended by Gloucester County Prosecutor, Sean F. Dalton; and Detective Nicholas Schock.
According to the Taskforce, traffic fatalities in Gloucester County have dropped by more than 50% over the last five years. At the same time, participation in the video contest has risen steadily, with new records of entries in the past three years. The program embraces elements of service learning and engages teens directly in the development of understanding causes of poor driving behavior and contributing a public service message.
State Farm, the nations leading auto and home insurer, is no stranger to the teen driving conversation and has been in front of leading teen driver research. In August, the insurer released findings from a teen focused Harris survey showing the role peers have on driving behavior.
While a passenger in a car, nearly four in five teens (78%) said they spoke up and pointed out a drivers distracted behavior, added State Farm agent Fred Burtnett. Once raising the issue, 84 percent said the driver listened and stopped driving distracted However, the Harris data also found that the attitude around texting while driving may still be do as I say not as I do with one third (34%) still engaging in texting while driving.
As motor vehicle accidents still remain the number one killer of teens in this country, advocacy that includes student, parent and community engagement still remain crucial to prevention. In Gloucester County, students learning the cause and consequence through positive service programs like the Gloucester County Prosecutors Office Highway Safety Taskforce video contest teach the value of being good neighbors in a great neighborhood.
And, State Farm is okay with that.
Dave Phillips, State Farm Public Affairs, (610) 358-7667
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.
The Gloucester County Highway Safety Taskforce is dedicated to reducing the number of serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents that occur in our county. The taskforce is a public/private partnership involving community, government and business leaders. Using innovative as well as time tested methods, the Gloucester County Highway Safety Task Force seeks to increase public awareness of the significant safety problems confronting our residents. Through education, communication and training, we believe we can make our roadways safer for all of our families and neighbors. For more information on the Task Force and video contest, visit http://www.co.gloucester.nj.us/depts/p/prosoffice/comservices/hwysafety.asp.