US Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
www.dot.gov/briefing-room.html

DOT 152-10
Monday, August 2, 2010
Contact: Olivia Alair
Tel: 202-366-4570

DOT, Seventeen Magazine, and AAA Launch National Two-Second Turnoff Day Video Challenge

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation, Seventeen magazine and AAA today announced their National Two-Second Turnoff Day Viral Video Challenge, a contest that will run from August 2 until September 10 to raise awareness among young people about the dangers of talking and texting while driving. The contest challenges teens to develop a catchy, creative anti-distracted driving video to promote safe driving and Seventeen's National Two-Second Turnoff Day, scheduled for September 17, 2010.

Watch the launch video HERE.

To enter, teens should fill out an official entry form at www.seventeen.com/twosecond, then upload a creative anti-distracted driving video and share it among friends. The video will be featured at DOT's second Distracted Driving Summit on September 21, 2010 and on Seventeen.com, AAAExchange.com, and Distraction.gov. The winner will also receive a $2,000 prize sponsored by AAA and Discover.

"One in four teen drivers say they've texted behind the wheel, and that's a trend we've got to confront head on," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This contest is an innovative and fun way to get teens involved in spreading the word about the importance of keeping their eyes on the road - and off their phones."

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, taking your eyes off of the road for two seconds doubles your crash risk. It also only takes two seconds to turn off the phone before getting behind the wheel. Seventeen magazine is holding a National Two-Second Turnoff Day on September 17 to remind teens to take two seconds and turn off the phone while driving.

"Eighty-Six percent of teens know that distracted driving is dangerous-and they do it anyway," says Ann Shoket, editor in chief of Seventeen Magazine, citing a Seventeen/AAA 2010 survey. "This contest helps teens hammer the real danger of driving while distracted to prevent accidents and save lives."

"AAA is pleased to partner with the Department of Transportation and Seventeen magazine in a unique viral campaign that is certain to engage young people and encourage them to spread the word about how simple it is to prevent the dangerous practice of driving while distracted," said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet.

Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2008, nearly 6,000 people died and more than half a million were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. More than 20 percent of all crashes that same year involved some type of distraction, and the highest number of fatal crashes involved drivers under the age of 20. Additionally, 40% of teenagers say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger, and one in four American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving.

To learn more about the National Two-Second Turnoff Day Video Challenge, please visit www.seventeen.com/twosecond. For more information on the dangers of distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov and www.AAAExchange.com.