The sad truth is that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Whether it's speeding, underage drinking, or driving while distracted, hundreds of teens die each year in Pennsylvania in a crash. What can PennDOT and its partners do to reach a teen audience and reduce those numbers?
That's the question we are asking as part of our inaugural PennDOT Innovations Challenge.
The challenge is open to teams of 3-4 high school freshmen, sophomores, or juniors who think they have an innovative solution to curb unsafe teen driving practices in the next five to 10 years. These methods should be outside of traditional paid advertising, marketing, and social media channels.
Each PennDOT district will choose up to five district finalists, who will be invited to present their projects in person at the district office. One winner will then be selected to move on to compete in Harrisburg as part of a statewide competition.
Initial submissions are due by 5 p.m. Jan. 31, 2018. These should include an attachment containing the project title and a description of no more than 500 words outlining the team's concepts. If selected as a district finalist, the team can then use models, diagrams, videos, and other visual aids or supporting materials to demonstrate the project to the district judges in a 15-minute presentation.
Teams will be judged on effectiveness, benefits to the community, cost savings, innovation, and presentation. For full details on submission guidelines, timeline, and judging criteria, visit the Innovations Challenge page.
The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore real transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.
"The perception is far too often that PennDOT only employs engineers and equipment operators," PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. "While those positions are key to building and maintaining Pennsylvania's vast road and bridge network, the reality is that we employ over 11,000 Pennsylvanians from a huge variety of educational backgrounds."
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