By Skylar Neafus
Everyday on the news there is a story about the dangers of texting while driving. Smart driving decisions can be the difference between life and death. Theresa Lamb’s State Farm insurance agency supports these safe and smart decisions.
“Celebrate My Drive is a national program that State Farm has made available to agents,” said State Farm agent Theresa Lamb. “It has been a program for three years.”
Every year since 2011, it has been held on the week of Oct. 15-24, which is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Celebrate My Drive raises awareness about how dangerous texting while driving is, along with other driving distractions.
“The number one killer of teens is automobile accidents,” said Lamb. “It’s just a reminder of how fast accidents can happen.”
Junior Tyler Crowl has first-hand experience in just how dangerous automobile accidents can be after being a victim of one at the end of his sophomore year.
“I got hit on the driver’s side after pulling away from a stop sign because I thought this guy had his turn signal on,” said Crowl. “I’m more cautious of my driving decisions now and am aware of everyone around me on the road because I was considered lucky to not have any injuries.”
Celebrate My Drive is an event that State Farm agents choose to promote which includes activities that help promote good decisions teens should make behind the wheel.
“It is a fun event and it’s informative. The ones who come usually have a good time,” said State Farm representative Jill Smith. “We have drunk goggles, mock crashes, a DJ, and food.”
Junior Sarah Parker shared her favorite part of the event last year.
“We got to do different things that relate to driving. We found out what matters when you drive,” said Parker.
The most important part of the event is the voting process.
Students everyday, once a day, can vote from Oct. 15-24 for their school to win prizes such as cash or concerts.
“If everyone votes, the school wins prizes. One of 90 win $25,000, one of 10 win $100,000, and one of two win a grand prize concert with free admission,” said Lamb.
In 2012, the money that was raised went towards Riley’s Children’s Hospital for the FC Dance Marathon and last year the money was used for after prom.
Voting is an online process of which can be accessed virtually anywhere, and there is no age requirements to be met.
“Anyone with an email can vote,” said Smith.
For the past three years that Celebrate My Drive has been occurring, participation and enthusiasm have declined as years go on, as a result of fall break interruptions during voting.
“Emailing people are now the main ways we usually promote to encourage students to be involved in the cause,” said FC graduate and State Farm representative Cory Troutman.
Not only have fall break interruptions affected Celebrate My Drive in a negative way, but also students enthusiasm towards the event.
“The first year it was more successful, the kids were more enthusiastic about it. Last year wasn’t as good, the participation was not all there,” said State Farm representative Chassity Curtsinger.
In contrast, Celebrate My Drive affects students in a positive way by praising young drivers who make safe driving decisions.
“It’s basically a celebration of getting your license even though the first year of driving tends to be the most dangerous,” said Lamb.
Smith shared her opinion on how she thinks the event affects students and the decisions they make while driving.
“If one kid doesn’t text and drive and realize that it’s really not safe, then it is very beneficial,” said Smith.
Senior Bradley Montgomery agreed that Celebrate My Drive is greatly beneficial.
“It made me realize that we need to make wiser choices when we drive and that we aren’t invincible. Accidents are called accidents for a reason.”
Overall, Celebrate My Drive provides students with various opportunities to recognize safe driving habits.
“The goal is just to get the word out on how serious it is and that kids should think twice before making decisions,” said Curtsinger.