PUBLISHED: 4:56 PM on Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Two Southeast Alaska schools among those awarded teen driver safety grants
Students at five Alaska high schools were among the dozens of schools across the Pacific Northwest that have earned over $125,000 in grants from State Farm Insurance to educate their peers and the community about the dangers of driving. Among the schools are Haines Borough High School for $5,000 and Yakutat School District for $3,200.

In all 47 schools were awarded "Shift Into Safety" grants from the northwest's largest auto insurer. The company this fall offered schools grants of $2,000 to $5,000 to craft campaigns to help change teens' thinking--and behavior--behind the wheel.

The winning "Shift Into Safety" grant projects focus on speeding, distractions, aggressive driving, seat belts, impaired driving, and several other critical safety issues for teen drivers. State Farm looked for campaigns that would motivate young drivers to think first and foremost about getting to their destinations safely and to change their behaviors accordingly.

"We're thrilled with the response to 'Shift Into Safety,' said Harold Gray, State Farm's Senior Vice President for the Pacific Northwest Zone. "We think this message of safe driving is best carried to teens by their peers, and these innovative projects will do just that."

State Farm offered the "Shift Into Safety" grants to high schools within its six-state Pacific Northwest Zone-Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Eighty-five schools applied, and State Farm will present the 47 grant checks in January.

In most cases, there will be a check presentation at a school assembly at each winning school sometime in January. Winning schools will implement their campaigns before the end of the school year.

Statistics show young drivers are four times more likely to get into a car crash than older drivers. And the risk is especially high for 16-year-olds.

State Farm insures more cars than any other insurer in North America and is the leading U.S. home insurer. State Farm's 17,000 agents and 69,000 employees serve nearly 73 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada.

State Farm also offers financial services products through State Farm Bank®.