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Toyota winners help teens in Connecticut, Alabama be better drivers

School teachers from Connecticut and Alabama won the Toyota Teen Driver Educators' Challenge today, Toyota and Discovery Education said in a joint announcement this evening.


U.S. high school teachers were told to develop three 90-minute project-based driving safety lessons for their students students. The winning lessons are safe teen driving public-service announcements for the winners’ schools and communities.

“Toyota is dedicated to saving the lives of teen drivers, and recognizes the critical role that educators and schools can play in their awareness of safe driving behaviors,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president, national philanthropy and the Toyota USA Foundation.

“With Discovery Education, we congratulate the winners of the Toyota Teen Driver Educators’ Challenge and all those who participated for their commitment to safety.”

This year’s grand prize winner is Nick Aprea, Seymour Public Schools, a teacher at Seymour High School in Seymour, Conn. The first-place winner is Gina McCarley, a teacher for Lawrence County High School, Moulton, Ala.

Aprea, as the grand prize winner, wins a free, in-person Toyota Driving Expectations event for the Seymour community. Toyota Driving Expectations is a free program for teen drivers and their parents that takes teens the next step beyond driver's education and introduces "real world" obstacles, conditions and distractions in a safe and controlled driving environment. There have been 18,000 participants since 2004.

McCarley, the first-place winner, wins two virtual driving simulators from Virtual Driver Interactive. The simulators are programmed with One Simple Decision, which stops impaired and distracted driving with a first-person experience that focuses on true consequences.

“Discovery Education is a firm believer in not only educating students on subjects inside the classroom, but teaching important lessons outside the classroom as well,” said Mary Rollins, vice president of education partnerships, Discovery Education. “The Educators’ Challenge is an exciting and effective way to get communities involved in promoting safe teen driving habits and teaching teens the consequences of distracted driving.”

The Educators’ Challenge is just one part of Toyota and Discovery Education’s joint program, Toyota Teen Driver, which aims to provide resources to schools, educators, parents and teens to help educate teens and keep them safer behind the wheel.

You can reach's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected].

Image source: Toyota