Community leaders, law enforcement officials and parents gathered at a local football game Saturday for something other than pigskin. As our Elyse Mickalonis reports, they got together to show their support for new drivers at an event that aimed to help teens stay safe.
ENDWELL, N.Y. – There may have been a varsity football game at Maine Endwell High School on Saturday, but not everyone was there to watch the action on the field.
"The number one cause of teen deaths in our country is automobile accidents in young drivers, new licensed drivers. We're committed to reducing teen deaths caused by automobile accidents,” said Jim Rollo, State Farm Insurance.
Community leaders, law enforcement officials and parents got together to show their support of new drivers at an event that aimed to help teens stay safe. According to organizers, more than 300 communities hosted simultaneous events. The State Farm-sponsored event, called Celebrate My Drive, aimed to help teens stay safe driving through support, education, awareness and more.
"They could be dangers to themselves, they could get hurt, god forbid we lose one of our children, but also they may have to live with a consequences, or any of us, if we hurt someone else,” said Rose Sotak, Town of Union Deputy Supervisor.
State Farm presented the school's Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter with a grant for $2,500 to promote better teen driving. Organizers say new drivers face many dangers that can be avoided and they're happy to help combat the issue.
"The number one issue we face today is distracted driving. We have a lot of accidents today where someone is approaching a stop sign or red light and they run into the car in front of them, typically the reason they do that is that they were distracted, looking at their iPhone, iPad or iPod,” said Rollo.
Students say they're thrilled to receive the donation and they have big plans to put the money to good use.
"Last year we didn't get to do a fake crash, which is when we get a crashed car and it shows students the disaster that occur, we might get to do that this year,” said Kellie Daino, Maine-Endwell High School Senior.
If you’d like to help the school win a $100,000 grant, head to celebratemydrive.com.