Red Oak and Ennis both have something extra to celebrate this season thanks to thousands of safe driver commitments made in support of their high schools through the Celebrate My Drive program created by State Farm.
One hundred schools won grants ranging from $25,000 to 100,000 in the national competition in which more than 3,500 schools participated. Ennis and Red Oak were in that top 100, and earned $25,000 grants for their efforts. More than 6.3 million safe driving commitments were made in support of competing schools throughout the US and Canada during the contest.
This is the second year in a row that Red Oak ISD has received a grant through the Celebrate My Drive competition. In 2012, the district landed a $100,000 grant.
“Winning this grant will benefit kids across Red Oak ISD and I am always proud to see how this community pulls together to support school initiatives. Supporting our young drivers is a cause that we can all get behind,” said Dr. Scott Niven, Red Oak ISD Superintendent. “I want to thank State Farm Agents Andrea Walton and Danny Humphreys along with everyone who voted. Students, parents, staff members and community members all contributed to Red Oak ISD winning this generous grant from State Farm.”
Voting numbers during the final day of the contest indicated that Red Oak High School tallied more than 20,000 votes or commitments to drive safely.
“Red Oak ISD has a long list of community partners who never fail to show support for the schools, teachers and students. State Farm Agents Andrea Walton and Danny Humphreys easily fit the bill of community partner,” said Adi Bryant, district spokeswoman.
In addition to collecting commitments to be safe drivers, the Celebrate My Drive program recognizes a very important and joyous occasion in the life of young people - learning to drive! Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, and a teen’s first year on the road is the most dangerous.
Using research as a guide, State Farm is approaching teen driver safety, a winnable public health battle, by engaging teens while they learn to drive in a supportive and positive way.
State Farm’s Vice President-Agency, Kimberly White of Dallas, said, “We at State Farm, and especially our local agents, are very proud of the efforts of the students, faculty, and their supporters in these two communities to make safe driving commitments and have positive conversations about teen driver safety. We believe that people engaging and making commitments online will realize a lasting positive influence on their thinking about driving safety. It’s exciting to see this pay off in a big way for the Ennis and Red Oak high schools.”
To stimulate more safe driving conversations, State Farm specified that 10 percent of these funds be used to support ongoing teen driver safety efforts. The need for more awareness around auto safety is supported in the report on distracted driving State Farm released this month. The July 2013, survey of nearly 1,000 motorists shines a light on a growing safety concern: people accessing the internet while driving. Five years of data show a significant increase in the use of mobile web services while driving — for all ages.
State Farm regional spokesman, Gary Stephenson, stated, “Smartphones have introduced another set of distractions for drivers. In addition to texting while driving, people are now able to use multiple mobile web services for surfing the web, social media, GPS and other apps. Distracted driving is becoming an increasing challenge for a growing segment of our population, and that potential affects anyone on the road. You may be innocent, but you could become a victim of a distracted driver.”
State Farm believes Celebrate My Drive is an effective tool to amplify the conversation around the importance of education related to teen driver safety. State Farm agents held more than 800 teen driving safety events between Oct. 18 and Oct. 26. These community celebrations focused on safe driving habits, emphasizing the benefits of safe choices as teens celebrate the freedom that comes with getting a drivers’ license.
Red Oak is served locally by State Farm agents Andrea Walton and Danny Humphreys, and Ennis is served by Jennifer Vidrine and Mike Moreland.
State Farm is the largest insurer of autos in Texas, and the nation.