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Funny, poignant videos by teens encourage safer driving

A scene from one of the 10 finalists

A scene from one of the 10 finalists in the Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge 2014. Submitted by Evan M. of Congers, N.Y. (Credit: Toyota)

The Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge asked teens nationwide to create videos shorter than 90 seconds that would inspire friends to drive more safely, and more than 1,000 teens answered the call. The top 10 finalists are now online so the public can vote for the winners.

The videos ranging from humorous to poignant, show how distracted driving can change lives forever. One video shows a fortune teller predicting a child’s death at 17 because he didn’t wear a seatbelt. Another features two teens rapping a pledge to be safe – “ain’t no text message worth dying for,” they sing. Another asks whether teens would listen to loud music while canoeing down an alligator-infested swamp, and, when the “alligators” attack, flash this statistic: There have been nine fatal alligator attacks in the past decade, but there have been 30,000 deaths from distracted driving.

Through 5 p.m. on April 30, visit TeenDrive365.com to view the finalist videos and vote for your favorite. The teen who gets the most votes will win a $15,000 cash prize and be given the opportunity to work with a film crew to re-create the video as a professional, TV-ready PSA, which is eligible to air on Discovery Education’s family of networks. Second place will receive a $10,000 cash prize and a behind-the-scenes trip for two to a Velocity Network show. Third place will be awarded a $7,500 cash prize.

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“The Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge embodies our philosophy that great, impactful ideas come from anyone, anywhere,” Latondra Newton, chief corporate social responsibility officer for Toyota Motor North America, said in a news release about the third annual competition. “We’re thrilled with the creative submissions we received from teens across the country and congratulate our teen finalists.”

Toyota Teen Driver, a partnership between Toyota and Discovery Education that offers free, online resources for teens, parents and teachers, is part of TeenDrive365 (www.teendrive365.com), Toyota’s initiative to help families navigate their teen’s first years behind the wheel.

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