December 15, 2005

Essay contest for high school juniors, seniors on
"Teens and Driving: Changing the Rules of the Road"

High school students can have their say on stricter traffic safety laws for teen drivers in an essay contest announced by LegiSchool, a non-partisan civic education effort of Sacramento State's Center for California Studies and the State Legislature.

The "Teens and Driving: Changing the Rules of the Road" essay contest is open to high school juniors and seniors. Ten students will be selected to travel to Sacramento April 6, 2006 to take part in LegiSchool's Student Legislative Summit at the State Capitol. The students will participate in a student-run press conference with state leaders, tour the Capitol and the California State History Museum, and meet with journalists and government leaders.

Prompted by public concern for the safety of young people behind the wheel and statistics showing that first-year teen drivers are involved in injury and fatal accidents at a rate four times greater than other motorists, state legislators in California have enacted tougher rules for inexperienced teen drivers. Those provisions include restrictions on cell phone use while driving, earlier curfews for young drivers and limitations on transporting passengers without adult supervision.

For the essay contest, students should address the following questions: Should the use of cell phones by teens be banned while driving? If so, should the ban extend to all drivers, not just teens? Do you favor the new law taking effect Jan. 1, 2006 that bans first-year teen drivers from being on the road between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (with exceptions such as school events, work or emergency medical situations)? In your opinion, are teen drivers being adequately trained behind the wheel? What can be done to decrease accidents caused by young, inexperienced drivers?

Essays must be typed, double-spaced and limited to 750 words or less. The essays must include the student's name, home address, phone number, e-mail address, name of high school and teacher who announced the contest. Entries must be postmarked by Jan. 20 and submitted to Sacramento State, Center for California Studies, LegiSchool Essay Contest, 6000 J Sacramento, CA 95819-6081.

More information about the essay contest is available at www.csus.edu/legischool or by calling (916) 278-6906. Media assistance is available by contacting the Sacramento State public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu