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December 16, 2010   Email to Friend 

VIDEO CONTEST FOCUSES ON DISTRACTED DRIVING
Debra Davis

Alfa Sr. Vice President of Marketing Services Carol Golsan, right, discusses the Alfa Drive Smart Campaign with student advisors Sarah Bethea of Montgomery and Drew and Katie Wendland of Autaugaville.
Alfa Insurance, along with the Alabama Department of Education and the Alabama Independent School Association, is sponsoring a contest designed to help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and allows Alabama high school students to show off their creativity.

The new Alfa Drive Smart online video contest begins Jan. 1 and offers thousands of dollars in cash and prizes to students who submit videos aimed at discouraging distracted driving among teens. The winning students' schools will receive cash awards as well.

"Every day our agents and claims adjusters see the impact distracted driving is having with more and more accidents on roadways across the South," said Executive Vice President of Marketing Herman Watts. "We care immensely for the safety of all drivers and believe this campaign promoting safe driving among teens is a good step in the education process. Alfa is proud to sponsor this along with the Alabama Department of Education and Alabama Independent School Association. If we save one life or prevent one accident by encouraging drivers to put down their phone, it makes this all worthwhile."

The official contest entry form and a list of contest rules are available online at AlfaDriveSmart.com. Approved contest entries will be posted as they are uploaded to the site. The first-place winner or group will receive one iPad (valued at $600) plus $1,500 in cash. The winning student (or group's) school will receive $1,500.

The second-place winner will receive one iPod Touch (valued at $250) plus $1,000 in cash. The school of the second-place winner or group will be awarded $1,000.

The third-place winner or group will receive one iPod Nano (valued at $150) plus $750 in cash. The school of the third-place winner or group will be awarded $750.

Educational leaders and students throughout the state have embraced the contest.

"As State Superintendent of Education, I have one primary concern that ranks above all others - the safety and well-being of Alabama's young people," said State School Superintendent Dr. Joseph Morton. "Safety in every form should be of paramount concern while driving. For years we have encouraged people to fasten their seatbelts and pay attention to the road while driving passenger cars. The same amount of concern must go into discouraging texting while driving, I hope this contest challenges students to use their imagination and creativity to develop a message of safety that resonates across the state and the country.

"The prizes offered are exciting and generous; but the real prize comes from students becoming more aware of the dangers of being distracted while driving a vehicle. One life saved, one family spared, one young person who lives to reach the full measure of his or her potential as a result of this contest makes it all worthwhile."

AISA Executive Director Don Oswald shared Morton's enthusiasm and support for the contest.

"The Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) is excited about the opportunity to participate in this awareness program, and we are grateful to Alfa for providing our students with an opportunity to express their creativity while communicating a much-needed message to the community in an effort to save lives," he said. "Sadly, many of our member schools, students and families have been impacted by the unnecessary and avoidable incidents that result from careless behavior while driving. This program should serve as a wonderful outlet for students to express their thoughts and concerns with their peers."

Sarah Bethea, a senior at Booker T. Washington Magnet School in Montgomery, along with AISA Student Government Association President Katie Wendland, a senior at Autauga Academy and her brother, Drew, a junior at the school, serve as student advisors for the contest. All the teens agree the problem is rampant among drivers, but Katie is quick to point out that it isn't just teens who text and drive.

"I've seen lots of adults that do it, too," she said. "But hopefully, this contest will help get the message out to everyone - just don't do it."

Sarah said most all of her friends use texting as a way to communicate and she thinks anything that helps raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving is a good idea.

"At our age, a lot of our friends think they are Superman," Sarah said. "They think it won't happen to them. With these prizes, hopefully we'll have lots of participation and drive home just how dangerous it really is."

The contest ends April 1. For more details, e-mail Marc Pearson, director of Integrated Marketing Communications at MPearson@AlfaIns.com.


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