Harding Academy is sponsoring the Celebrate My Drive campaign, State Farm’s nationwide challenge to promote safe teen driving.
From Oct. 15-24, the registered school and the surrounding community are encouraged to make online commitments to safe driving, according to State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive website. The 100 schools with the most pledges will win cash grants of either $25,000 or $100,000, as well as a chance to host The Band Perry in concert.
More teenagers die from car crashes than any other cause, and the first year of driving is the most dangerous, according to the State Farm website.
Darren Mathews, principal at Harding Academy, is leading the school in this campaign.
“It’s all about keeping our young drivers safe and alive,” Darren Mathews said.
Hayden Mathews, 18, is Harding Academy’s Student Association president this year. Hayden Mathews said the requirements for the contest are easy and come with great benefits.
“We can all make internet pledges once a day,” Hayden Mathews said. “For example, I can get online (www.celebratemydrive.com) during the challenge and pledge not to text and drive. It’s an online accountability program, to help us all keep our pledges.”
Brian Maddox, a State Farm insurance agent from Searcy, said safe drivers equals fewer accidents, which equals better auto insurance premiums for young drivers in the long run.
“I have two kids who go to Harding Academy,” Maddox said. “So I want them to be developing these good habits. I’m thankful to work for a company that cares about young drivers and supports young drivers.”
Hayden Mathews said the challenge is as much about the community as it is about the school.
“Anyone can get involved: students here at Harding Academy, parents, grandparents, students at Harding University — it all adds up,” Hayden Mathews said. “It’s very simple and everyone likes to get involved in things that are simple and beneficial.”
Darren Mathews wants to encourage all White County residents to be part of the campaign by going online during the challenge week and typing in their commitments towards safe driving.
“We need everyone on board,” Darren Mathews said. “We want Harding University students pledging to drive safely as much as anyone else. Professors, the student body, everybody can pledge ten times over the course of the challenge.”