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Teens Address Their Number One Killer - Car Crashes


Top Ten Teen-Inspired Safety Campaigns Announced

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Feb. 14 -- With motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, students representing 25 schools have been competing to create the most compelling safe driving communication campaigns aimed at convincing their peers of the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.

Today, Project Ignition (, sponsored by State Farm(R) and coordinated by the National Youth Leadership Council(R), announced this year's ten finalist schools:

  Finalists in the fourth year of the program include:
  -- Ada High School - Ada, Okla.
  -- Bergen County Technical School - Paramus, N.J.
  -- Bishop McNamara High School - Forestville, Md.
  -- Harry D. Jacobs High School - Algonquin, Ill.
  -- Howenstine High Magnet School - Tucson, Ariz.
  -- Louisburg High School - Louisburg, Kan.
  -- Medina Valley High School - Castroville, Texas
  -- Nease High School - Ponte Vedra, Fla.
  -- Owen Valley High School - Spencer, Ind.
  -- Upper Arlington High School - Columbus, Ohio

Through Project Ignition, teams of students from 25 schools around the country each received a $2,000 grant in the fall of 2007 to develop their program. The students from these 25 schools were charged to create and implement programs that address the issues that face teen drivers. These topics include seat belt use, speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving. The 2007-2008 Project Ignition campaigns included student created videos, safe driving demonstrations, community outreach programs, promotional items like key chains, simulated mock crash scenes and public service announcements.

As Project Ignition reaches the conclusion of its fourth year, the National Youth Leadership Council and State Farm will select a "Best of the Best" program from the 10 Project Ignition finalists attending the National Service-Learning Conference(R) in Minneapolis, Minn., on Thursday, April 10. The winner receives a $10,000 grant and will be encouraged to continue its Project Ignition program efforts. More information on the National Youth Leadership Conference can be found at http://www.nylc/

"Project Ignition embodies the true meaning of service-learning and how teens can have a direct impact not only on the lives of their peers, but also on the community," said Dr. James Kielsmeier, president of NYLC. "Teen driving behavior and habits are a major factor in teen driving accidents. Project Ignition uses service-learning as a tool for young people to educate themselves and their neighbors on the risks they face every time they get behind the wheel."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 7,000 16-to 20-year-old drivers were involved in fatal crashes in the United States in 2006. The fatality rate for drivers age 16 to 19 years, based on miles driven, is four times that of drivers age 25 to 69 years.

"Today's young people are faced with hazards both inside and outside the vehicle," said Kellie Clapper, Assistant Vice President -- Community Relations for State Farm. "Through service-learning, the Project Ignition program empowers teens to influence their peers and make a positive impact on driving behaviors and attitudes. State Farm's goal is to make the roads safer for all drivers and help save lives."

Project Ignition applications are now being accepted for the 2008-09 school year. The deadline is May 16, 2008. For more information visit the Project Ignition Web site at

About State Farm

State Farm(R) insures more cars than any other insurer in the U.S., the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 68,000 employees serve over 76 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada. State Farm also offers customers banking, annuities and mutual fund products. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit or in Canada

About National Youth Leadership Council

NYLC has been at the center of service-learning program and policy development since 1983. It convenes the annual National Service-Learning Conference, offers adult and youth trainings, and develops service-learning resources. Service learning is a teaching method that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service to their schools and communities. It integrates service with established learning objectives, emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving, and tackles real issues such as hunger, ecological concerns, diversity and teen driver safety. For more information, please visit