---- — Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds, and distracted driving is often the culprit, according to a New York Central Mutual Insurance media release.
In an effort to help save lives, NYCM Insurance in Edmeston is accepting entries for its second annual video contest to help teens encourage their peers to drive safely. Winners will be awarded money for their school. First place will receive $15,000, second place will receive $10,000 and third place will receive $5,000. In addition, there will be a $500 prize awarded to the student who produces the video that earns the most likes on Facebook.
Ninth- through 12th-graders who attend a New York state public high school can enter the contest by creating a 25-second video that conveys the dangers of distracted driving. The video can feature an individual, group or animation, and creativity is encouraged. Videos should be uploaded to the NYCM Insurance Facebook page by Jan. 31. If a student is younger than 18, the video must be accompanied by authorization from a parent or guardian.
According to the release, all of the video entries will be judged by a panel of young people and parents of teens selected by NYCM Insurance. Winners will be announced in April.
In addition, the top 15 videos, as determined by a panel of young people and parents of teens selected by NYCM Insurance, will be eligible for the “People’s Choice Award.” NYCM also will award $500 to the student or students who created the video that earns the most “likes” on Facebook. Voting for the “People’s Choice Award” will begin March 1 and will end on April 30.
“Several research studies reveal that teens believe they can text and drive safely,” Tom McDaniel, vice president for marketing at NYCM Insurance, said in the release. “The statistics are clear that distracted driving endangers a driver’s safety, and texting is the most alarming because it takes a driver’s eyes off of the road, hands off of the wheel, and mind off of driving. Our goal is for teens to educate themselves and others about the dangers of distracted driving to bring about change.”
In addition to texting, drivers also can be distracted by using a cellphone, eating and drinking, talking, grooming, using a navigation system, surfing the Internet or changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player, the release said.
In the first year of the contest, students at East Syracuse-Minoa Central High School won first prize and received $15,000 for their school. Students at Millbrook High School were awarded second place and earned $10,000 for their school and students at Canandaigua Academy captured third place and earned $5,000 for their school.
To learn more about this year’s contest, visit www.contest.nycm.com.