Prizes for Toyota Teen Driver Challenge Winners from Tennessee, New York and Missouri Include $20,000, a Toyota Driving Expectations Event and Virtual Driving Simulators
SILVER SPRING, Md. (May 4, 2011) – Toyota and Discovery Education announced today the winners of the Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge and Toyota Teen Driver Educators’ Challenge, the nation’s premier teen safe driving challenges. Winners will receive a variety of cash and prizes, such as $20,000, a Toyota Driving Expectations event and virtual driving simulators. These Challenges are part of Toyota and Discovery Education’s joint program, Toyota Teen Driver, which provides educators, parents and students with comprehensive lesson plans, take-home resources, an interactive game and more to help avoid distractions while driving and stay safe behind the wheel.
Chosen from nearly 125 entries, this year’s Video Challenge Grand Prize winner of a $20,000 cash prize is Jacob Orlowski from Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Mo. Recognizing that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, Orlowski created a video inspiring his peers to take action and create real life solutions to prevent distracted driving. The Video Challenge asked high school students across the country to create a unique two-minute video describing how they would encourage safe driving among their peers. In March, 10 finalists were chosen and their videos were posted on the Toyota Teen Driver website for a “fan voting” period where the public was invited to vote to determine the grand prize winner. The remaining nine finalists each received $1,500 in cash.
For the Educators’ Challenge, teachers nationwide were tasked with creating a detailed action plan on how they would promote safe driving among teens in their school and in their community. This year’s winners were chosen for their plan’s creativity, content and structure. First Place winner Erin Hattabaugh from Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Tenn., has won a Toyota Driving Expectations in-school safe driving event, a virtual driving simulator for her school and a $5,000 grant to implement her winning action plan. Second Place winner Carrie Shampoe from Clymer High School in Clymer, N.Y., has won a virtual driving simulator for her school and a $1,500 grant to implement her winning action plan. Both winning lessons will be made available on the Toyota Teen Driver website for teachers to use.
Toyota Driving Expectations is a free program for teen drivers and their parents that has educated more nearly 20,000 participants since 2004. The program puts teens and parents behind the wheel and introduces “real world” obstacles, conditions and distractions in a safe and controlled driving environment. Virtual driving simulators, provided by Virtual Driver Interactive, are programmed with One Simple Decision™ – a program designed to stop impaired and distracted driving with a first person experience that focuses on real life consequences. The simulators will also include Toyota Teen Driver’s “Heads Up!,” an interactive road driving challenge demonstrating the perils of distracted driving.
“At Toyota, we are deeply committed to ensuring that drivers are safe at every phase of life,” said Pat Pineda, Group Vice President, National Philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation. “Toyota Teen Driver is an important part of that commitment, and we are thrilled with the work of the students and teachers who participated in our Video Challenge and Educators’ Challenge programs. Their creativity and smart thinking in addressing solutions for such a serious public health concern are an inspiration that we are pleased to join Discovery Education in supporting.”
“Discovery Education is proud to reward these teachers and students for finding creative ways to address safe driving among teens with action items they can use in and outside of their classrooms,” said Mary Rollins, Discovery Education vice president. “We recognize the value in crafting unique learning opportunities that get communities involved in important issues that affect their everyday lives. Challenges like these underscore the need to involve educators, families and students in educating teens on the importance of creating a safe driving experience on the road.”