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May 03, 2011   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
May 03, 2011

Hal Davis of Enterprise High School took top honors in the competition, which encouraged high school students to produce videos that educate their peers and adults about the dangers of texting and driving. From left: Herman Watts, Executive Vice President of Marketing; Davis; and Carol Golsan, Senior Vice President of Marketing Services.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Students from Coffee and Jefferson counties were awarded cash and prizes May 3 as winners of the Alfa Insurance® DRV NOW, TXT L8R video contest.

Hal Davis of Enterprise High School took top honors in the competition, which encouraged high school students to produce videos that educate their peers and adults about the dangers of texting and driving. Jordan Dewitt and Conlan McGuff of McAdory High School in McCalla placed second; and Jonathan Ashworth, Daniel Tuggle and John Caraway of Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham placed third.

"I felt that if the goal was to grab the attention of youth, that a dramatic and serious commercial would not be as effective as a somewhat humorous video -- even though it is a very serious subject," said Davis.

The Enterprise senior's video features Davis dismissing a friend's warning to stop texting and driving, noting that "this isn't the worst thing I've ever done while driving." The statement is followed by scenes of Davis engaged in a variety of outrageous activities while behind the wheel. His comical flashback is interrupted by a minor accident immediately after he asks his friend, "What's the worst that could happen?"

As the first-place winner, Davis received an iPad®2 and $1,500 from Alfa. Enterprise High School also received a $1,500 cash award.

Davis' video was selected from among more than 150 entries that were submitted between Jan. 1 and March 31. The winning videos, along with educational information about texting and driving, are available at www.AlfaDriveSmart.com.Partnering with Alfa to promote the contest were the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Independent School Association.

"At Alfa, we recognize that distracted driving is a growing concern," said Alfa President Jerry Newby. "Research has shown that our policyholders and members support efforts to curb cell phone-related accidents. Based on their comments, we decided to launch the Alfa Drive Smart campaign and the DRV NOW, TXT L8R video contest.

"Knowing how important this safety issue is, we called our friends, State Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton and AISA Executive Director Don Oswald, and they eagerly agreed to help promote the contest," Newby added. "By working with the schools, we were able to give high school students across the state an opportunity to showcase their creativity while communicating important information about texting and driving."

As the second-place winner, Dewitt and McGuff received an iPod® touch and $1,000. McAdory High School also received a $1,000 cash award. The students' video uses multiple camera angles and quick edits to dramatically tell the story of a little girl innocently jumping rope in a driveway when a driver who veers off the road while texting strikes her. The 40-second video is a stark reminder of the consequences of distracted driving.

The team from Oak Mountain High School received an iPod® nano and $750 for third place. The school also received a $750 cash award. In the video by the trio of Ashworth, Tuggle and Caraway, a teenage boy receives a text message while driving and reaches for his phone. The scene is followed by a flashback in which the main character rescues his younger brother from a distracted driver. As the flashback ends, the video shows the boy pulling his older brother's hand away from the phone, potentially reversing the roles of savior and victim. Suspenseful music and the use of both color and black-and-white photography add to the drama of the video.

Alfa plans to distribute the winning entries to driver education classrooms throughout the state and to television stations as public service announcements.

Jeff Helms, director of public relations and communications with Alfa, said the video contest showcased the talent of Alabama students.

"The creativity and production value of the videos is impressive. It is obvious that students not only have embraced new technology, but they also understand its potential for advocacy and marketing," Helms said. "Some of the videos will stir your emotions, while others will tickle your funny bone. We are pleased that so many students took the time to contemplate the dangers of texting and driving and share their creative messages with friends and family. Since all of the entries are posted to YouTube, we hope other students and adults will view the videos and share them with friends through Facebook and Twitter. If this program helps save one life, it will be a success."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20 percent of crashes that cause injury involve some sort of distracted driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. And, the University of Utah found that using a cell phone while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

For more information about the dangers of texting and driving and to view the winning videos from the DRV NOW, TXT L8R contest, visit www.AlfaDriveSmart.com.

With more than a million policies in force, Alfa and its affiliates provide insurance and other financial services in 12 states. Visit www.AlfaInsurance.com or call 1-800-964-2532.

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