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Contest aims to put brakes on distracted driving

SELF Movement's annual safe driving video contest battles distracted driving

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One-quarter of teens respond to a text message every time they drive, according to a study. But there's a movement trying to put a stop to that.

The SELF Movement is partnering with local businesses and agencies to bring awareness to this potentially deadly statistic with its fourth annual Teen Safe Driving Video Contest.
 
Florida Highway Patrol officials said one in every six crashes is caused by a distracted driver. Police said such crashes are preventable.
 
"One traffic death by texting or distraction is one too many," said Gary Dickinson of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
 
The SELF Movement -- which stands for Service Education Leadership Foundation -- held a news conference at Frank H. Peterson High School on Monday morning to announce this year's contest. The goal behind the contest is to create a video to inform teens about the dangers of distracted or impaired driving. 

Duval County Public Schools, JSO and Allstate Insurance are joining forces for the contest.
 
"Being a licensed driver isn't the same as being a safe driver," said Bill Bade of Allstate. "You can have all the skills in your toolbox to be a skilled driver, but if you're distracted or impaired you can kill someone.

"That's the sad thing. There is a cultural acceptance of distracted and impaired driving."
 
Allen Conerly was at the school to tell his story about how an accident changed his life forever. He was hit on his way to high school and is still recovering from his injuries.
 
"I wonder, 'Why did this happen to me?'" Conerly said. "They need to stop driving distracted, put the phone down, stop messing with friends, stop changing the radio, iPod, etc."
 
Several teens seemed to get the message.
 
"Me being a teen I still text and drive, but after seeing what happened to the young man it changes my perspective," Victor Lainez said.
 
Lainez said he plans to get a group together to create a video promoting safe driving habits for the contest. The winning team could win up to $4,000 in scholarships.

Duval County high school students who want to participate or learn more should go to theselfmovement.org.


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