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Contest winner Karlee Bartlow and teacher Scott Riley display a replica of the winning billboard design outside the Athens Area High School.

Athens -- The Highway Safety Network (HSN), Athens Area High School, and State Farm Insurance held a press conference on Wednesday at Athens Area High School to announce the regional winner of the No Excuses Billboard Design Contest – a youth driven campaign developed to impact the #1 cause of death for teens: motor vehicle crashes.

Karlee Bartlow, an Athens Area High School freshman, was recognized for her winning design “Stay Alert, Don’t Get Hurt,” a billboard featuring a distracted driver. Karlee was awarded a $500 scholarship for her efforts and an additional $500 for her school. The billboard contest was sponsored by State Farm Insurance.

Karlee’s design will be displayed on a billboard in Bradford County during National Teen Driver Safety Week in October.

According to PennDOT data, in 2018 there were 6,453 crashes involving 16- or 17-year-old drivers resulting in 26 fatalities. Of all drivers represented in crashes, the youngest drivers and the oldest drivers are two groups that stand out. Young drivers (ages 16-21) are the least experienced drivers and they are also prone to overzealous driving performance, perhaps due to their youth and peer pressure.

In attendance at the event to honor Karlee was Mike Diehl, HSN; Scott Riley, Athens Area High School teacher; Adam Bennett, State Farm agent and Karlee’s mother Karrie Paul.

When asked why he encouraged students to enter the contest, Riley said “Contests like this give the kids opportunity to have real guidelines to follow and real deadlines to meet in these real world applications and in the end see how that translates into the graphic industry.”

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