Teens in the Southland and throughout California are invited to submit ideas for a public service announcement about the dangers of speeding, which is factor in 26% of all fatal traffic crashes, with a $2,000 cash prize up for grabs, it was announced Thursday.

The winner of the Drive Safe California PSA Challenge, sponsored by the National Road Safety Foundation, will also get the opportunity to work with an Emmy Award-winning producer to turn the winning idea into a finished 30-second PSA that will debut at the LA Auto Show next May before being broadcast on more than 160 TV stations nationwide.

The runner-up will receive a $1,000 award, and the teachers or school advisers of the winner and runner-up will each receive a $100 honorarium.

“The general attitude about speeding is that `everyone does it.’ The biggest perceived risk of speeding is getting stopped for a ticket, paying a fine and getting points on your license,” said Michelle Anderson of the National Road Safety Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes safe driving behavior.

“Too many drivers forget that speeding can result in far more than a ticket. It can cause a crash that takes lives and devastates families,” she said. “That’s the message we want California teens to help us communicate — speeding can be so much more than a ticket.”

Teens ages 13-19 attending school in California are invited to enter the contest by sending in a script or treatment for a television ad that warns their peers and others about speeding. Entries must be received by Oct. 26. The winner will be announced at the LA Auto Show, where his or her video will be shown. All contest entrants will receive a complimentary ticket to attend the auto show, which returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center May 21-31.

“Today’s cars are safer than ever, with technological advances that help avoid crashes,” said Terri Toennies, president of the LA Auto Show. “But we need to remain vigilant in spreading the message, especially with young drivers, about the importance of responsible driving. We are proud to continue our support of the National Road Safety Foundation and look forward to having them at our show this May.”

Information about the Drive Safe California contest is at www.nrsf.org/teenlane/content/drivesafeca. The site also has winning PSAs from previous years.

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