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Ingraham High School Tackles Distracted Driving

Last Monday Ingraham High School students launched a contest challenging local high school students to design a billboard or create a video demonstrating the dangers of texting while walking or driving. The goal is to reduce the number of collisions involving young people who are distracted while texting.

The contest, known as the “$248 Challenge”, provides a financial incentive for teens to participate while explaining why distracted driving is dangerous in their own words.  Three prizes will be awarded — one for the best billboard design, one for the best video, and one for the “People’s Choice.” The winning billboard will be featured on a sign along Aurora Avenue this spring. The billboard or video entry that receives the most votes on the contest’s Facebook page,, will win the “People’s Choice” prize. 

State Farm donated the three prizes of $248 each (twice the fine for texting while driving).

Washington State Troopers and Seattle Police Officers joined the students at Ingraham High School to launch the contest, performing a skit involving the arrest of a young person who is texting while in traffic.  The event featured a car driven by a Thurston County nineteen-year-old who was killed last year while texting. (See videos about Heather Lerch’s crash on The short version is at and longer version is at–HnHrM ).

Check out KOMO-4’s story about the contest launch and contest:

One in four teens admits to texting while driving, and drivers under twenty experience the highest distracted-driving fatality rate, with the 20-29 year group ranking second, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The “$248 Challenge” is part of the educational outreach component of the Aurora Traffic Safety Project.  Nearly 50 percent of collisions on Aurora are caused by distracted driving or inattention.   

Stay tuned to the SDOT Blog to see the winning videos and billboards in March.