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Teen-produced seat belt commercials wanted

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Minnesota teens have a chance to win $1,000 by producing TV spots that deliver a "buckle up" message to their peers. The Buckle Up, Teens! TV Commercial Contest is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) and AAA. Minnesota students in grades 9-12 are eligible to enter. The 30-second spots must be received by DPS by April 20.

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Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and seat belt non-use is a main factor cited in teen traffic deaths. Over the last three years, 149 teens ages 16-19 were killed on Minnesota roads and half of them were not wearing seat belts.

Teens are encouraged to post their spots on the new DPS Facebook group page, Rock the Belt Teens, as well as other video-sharing websites. Schools can also establish competitions with local schools for regional contests.

The top spots will be posted on the DPS website in May for a public viewing and voting period to determine a winner. AAA will award a grand prize of $1,000 for the winning producer, $600 for second place and $400 for third place. The winning spot will also make its TV broadcast premiere in the spring of 2009 on programming to be determined.

"The goal of this contest is to encourage peer-to-peer reinforcement about the importance of wearing a seat belt," says Cheri Marti, director of DPS Office of Traffic Safety.

Find contest rules and entry forms online at www.dps.state.mn.us/ots, click the "Buckle Up, Teens!" link.

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