Teens Address Their No. 1 Killer - Car Crashes

Top Teen-Inspired Safety Campaigns Announced

Jan 26, 2010, 12:55 ET from State Farm

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- With motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, students from schools across the United States have been competing to create the most compelling safe driving communication campaigns aimed at convincing their peers of the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.

Today, Project Ignition (www.sfprojectignition.com), sponsored by State Farm® and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council, announced this year's finalist schools. As finalists, these schools have each earned $5,000 to cover travel to the National Service-Learning Conference in San Jose, Calif., March 24-27. Today's announcement places these schools in the final round of competition for a $10,000 grant. This is the first time Canada has participated in Project Ignition.

Finalists in the sixth year of the program include:




Eureka Senior High School



Fayetteville High School



Gibson City- Melvin-Sibley High School

Gibson City


Harry D. Jacobs High School



Ionia County Intermediate School District



Northern Secondary School



Owen Valley High School



Payson High School



Ridgemont High School



Rushville Consolidated High School



Yelm High School



Through Project Ignition, teams of students from more than 100 schools around the country received grants in the fall of 2009 to develop their projects. The students were charged with creating and implementing programs that address the issues facing teen drivers. These topics include seat-belt use, speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving. The 2009-2010 Project Ignition campaigns included student-created videos, safe driving demonstrations, community outreach programs, online social media campaigns, simulated mock crash scenes and public service announcements. The field was narrowed to the top 25, and most recently, the top 11 (includes Canada).

The National Youth Leadership Council and State Farm will select a "Best of the Best" program from the finalists. The winner will receive a $10,000 grant and will be encouraged to continue its Project Ignition program efforts. More information about the Conference can be found at http://www.nylc.org/conference.

"Project Ignition embodies the true meaning of service-learning and how teens can have a direct impact not only on the lives of their peers, but also on the community," said Dr. James Kielsmeier, president of NYLC. "Teen driving behavior and habits are a major factor in teen driving crashes. Project Ignition uses service-learning as a tool for young people to educate themselves and their neighbors on the risks they face every time they get behind the wheel."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 6,000 15-to 20-year-old drivers were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2008.

"Project Ignition uses service-learning to help teens create safe-driving programs they believe will impact their peers' driving behaviors," said Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President -- Community Relations for State Farm. "As a company committed to reducing teen car crashes, State Farm is very interested in the projects the schools come up with. We can learn a lot from these remarkable young people."

For more information visit the Project Ignition Web site at www.sfprojectignition.com.  

About State Farm®:

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. State Farm's 17,700 agents and 68,600 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 78.7 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and more than 1.9 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® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.

About National Youth Leadership Council

NYLC has been at the center of service-learning program and policy development since 1983. It convenes the annual National Service-Learning Conference, offers adult and youth trainings, and develops service-learning resources. Service learning is a teaching method that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service to their schools and communities. It integrates service with established learning objectives, emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving, and tackles real issues such as hunger, ecological concerns, diversity and teen driver safety. For more information, please visit www.nylc.org.

SOURCE State Farm