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Teens helping teens to curb distracted driving

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 8:03 AM EDT
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OREGON, Ohio (WTVG) - October marks National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the state of Ohio is turning to its youngest drivers to revamp its “Stay alive, don’t text and drive,” slogan.

Experts say that slogan is outdated because kids aren’t sending text messages anymore. These days, teen drivers are far more likely to be distracted by scrolling through social media apps.

So a new slogan, “Get your head out of your apps and drive,” may be more effective. With this new information about young drivers, the Lucas County Safe Driving Coalition had a revelation that the best people to get through to teen drivers are other teenagers.

So the coalition is launching a social media contest for people ages 15-20, called the Rollin' Smart Initiative. Young people can submit their own videos about the dangers of distracted driving.

The coalition has been helped by Toledo Technology Academy senior and future cybersecurity expert Andrew Henke. He was asked to give a few social media pointers but went above and beyond by creating an entire website and even pushing the adults to work even harder.

“He had me creating a whole new website. And then he had me on task. He got me deadlines,” says Jamie Blazevich, Safe Communities Coordinator for Lake Erie West.

“I love it. Being able to make a difference immediately, it’s great. It’s everything you’d want to do,” says Henke.

Henke thought he would have to wait until he finished college to wait until he got through college before he could use his computer skills to help people, and is excited that with the Rollin' Smart Initiative, he doesn’t have to wait.

The first-place prize in the video contest is a $75 gift card to a vendor of your choice.

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