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Teens "Holla" About Smart Driving with Kate Voegele


Second annual “Holiday Holla” online caroling contest invites teens to help save lives with chance to win $10,000.

Instead of “Deck the Halls,” teens this holiday season may be singing “Deck the Streets.” Keep the Drive - a teen-to-teen smart driving movement funded by The Allstate Foundation - invites teens from across the country to participate in “Holiday Holla,” an online caroling contest. By challenging teens to rewrite and perform (or “holla”) traditional holiday carols with new, catchy lyrics about smart driving, the contest empowers teens to help address the No. 1 killer of teens - car crashes.

The top five teams will perform in front of recording artist Kate Voegele, widely known for her guest star role on One Tree Hill, and thousands of people at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., on Dec. 6, 2008, for the chance to win $10,000.

“The holidays are deadly for teen drivers, which is hard to talk about during such a happy time of the year,” said Voegele, who will help select this year’s winners. “Through music, humor and the Internet, ’Holiday Holla’ gives teens the chance to take on this difficult issue in a fun way.”

The 2007 grand-prize winners, Danny Luebke and Carl Turner of Minneapolis, Minn., won the adoration of the crowd and celebrity judge, Taylor Swift, with their song “Make a Difference,” an upbeat acoustic version of the holiday carol “Good King Wenceslaus.” Go to for last year’s finalist videos.

“Holiday Holla” Contest Details
To enter, teens create their own video carols using smart driving lyrics and well-known, public domain holiday songs such as “Deck the Halls,” “Oh Chanuka, Oh Chanuka,” “Jingle Bells” and other classics listed on Teens must videotape themselves performing their songs and submit their videos to from Oct. 1 through Nov. 2, Teens can enter as individuals or in teams of up to three teens.

On Nov. 7, fifteen semi-finalists will be announced. Each semi-finalist team will receive a $1,000 award from The Allstate Foundation. The public will help select the top five finalist videos through online voting from Nov. 7 through Nov. 21 at Members from the five teams whose videos get the most votes will win an expenses-paid trip to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. On Saturday, Dec. 6, the finalists will perform their songs onstage for a panel of judges, including Kate Voegele. Voegele will award the grandprize, second place and third place winners with $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000, respectively.

Tips for Teens
In the U.S., car crashes cause far more teen deaths each year than drugs, violence or suicide. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, more than 5,000 teens die each year in car crashes-and 300,000 teens are injured. The Allstate Foundation has simple tips to keep teens safer this holiday season:

* Put the phone down. According to a national survey of teens conducted by The Allstate Foundation, while driving, 56 percent of teens talk on their cell phones and 13 percent read or write text messages. Driving with distractions is a major cause of crashes.
* Slow down. Speeding is one of the main causes of teen crashes. Ninety percent of teens admit to speeding, according to the survey.
* Speak up! Half of teens from the survey said they wouldn’t speak up if a friend was driving recklessly.
* Use your buckle. Roughly two-thirds of teens who die in car wrecks are not buckled up, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Some suggestions for parents include being a good role model and practicing what you preach. Brush up on state laws. Every state has Graduated Driver Licensing to help new drivers get practice driving under lower-risk conditions. Get to know these laws, and establish your own rules for when, where, how and with whom your teen may drive.

For detailed rules on “Holiday Holla,” go to

Editor’s Note: If you’re interested in any of the following interview opportunities and/or content, please Joanna Augustynski at or 847-402-5604.

* Interview with Voegele to discuss her role in the contest/event, the importance of the teen driving issue and how teens can get involved
* An advance interview of teens who are leading the Keep the Drive movement to discuss the issue, what they’re doing in their communities as activists and their point of view regarding the “Holiday Holla” contest
* Opportunity to come to the event, interview the finalists and Voegele and capture your own photos
* Pictures from the finalist event with Voegele and teen performers
* The top five finalist videos and the winning video for your Web site
* Information on teen driving (statistics on teen car crashes, activism projects, etc.)

About Keep the Drive
Keep the Drive is a national teen-led smart driving movement funded by The Allstate Foundation. It educates teens about the issue, impacts the way they think and act in the car and empowers them to become smart driving activists in their schools and communities and online. For more information, visit


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