Local girl finalist in distracted driving ad contest

Holly Mickelson, a student at Spectrum High School has been named one of five final entries in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s AAA Don’t Drive Distracted, Teens! TV Commercial Challenge.

Now it’s Minnesota’s time to vote. Minnesotans are asked to view and select the best spot through May 24 at www.rockthebelt.org, and click on the Don’t Drive Distracted, Teens! link.

More than 90 Minnesota teenagers produced 30-second TV public service announcements for the contest to educate peers about the dangers of driver distraction.

The finalists are competing for a $1,000 first-place prize and a broadcast premiere of their spot to air during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards Aug. 28. There is a $600 prize for second place and $400 prize for third. Prizes are donated by AAA.

The finalists are listed in the sidebar to the left.

DPS officials say now is a smart time for parents to re-engage with their teens’ driving — before summer, historically the deadliest season on state roads.

Officials say parents should set rules and limitations for teen drivers, and establish limits on nighttime driving and number of passengers. Parents should also reinforce traffic laws — such as the primary seat belt law; ban on texting/Web access/electronic communication; and the ban on cell phone use for drivers under age 18.

“This contest can be a shared activity for parents and their teens, and serve as a conversation starter about important driving rules and limitations,” says Gordy Pehrson, youth coordinator at DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

DPS offers a teen-parent driver contract and driver skills checklist at www.dps.state.mn.us/ots; click on “Teen Driving.”

The Don’t Drive Distracted, Teens! contest is a component of the state’s core traffic safety initiative, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD).

A primary vision of the TZD program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota in which motorists practice and promote safe and smart driving behavior.


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