OK, everyone come in after four. One, two three, four...

Young people dying, ‘cos they drive while they text.

If you’re driving distracted, you could be next.

Or something like that. The Ford Motor Company and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) will be hearing plenty of tunes along these lines, because the two have gotten together and launched a songwriting competition for teenagers.

Under the banner of “Belt it Out,” teens between 15 and 19 years old are invited to compose and perform their original songs that focus on the dangers of distracted driving. “Belt it Out is an outstanding opportunity for teens to educate their peers about the dangers of distractions through creativity,” said Jim Graham, community relations manager of the Ford Motor Company Fund.

The winner will get $5,000 in savings bonds. Second place wins $3,000 in savings bonds and third place gets $1,000 in savings bonds. Entries can consist of up to five members and those amounts will go to each one. So if the outright winner had five performers, the total would be $25,000.

The public will be invited to select the top five finalists. This is all part of the Ford Driving Skills for Life (Ford DSFL) program and the competition is open from now to May 1, 2011. For more information and how to enter, go to www.drivingskillsforlife.com.

Ford DSFL and the GHSA partnered up in 2003 to help combat the number-one killer of teens – vehicle crashes, which claim the lives of nearly 5,000 a year, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The DFSL interactive website has a lot of information to help educate young drivers and this is the second consecutive year a songwriting competition has been held. The great thing about music is also a virtue shared with driving – there is always something new to learn, even when we grow out of our teens.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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