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U of M Center for Transportation Studies teams up with State Farm to improve teen driving

Distraction Dodger game to be featured Sept. 15 at local Celebrate My Drive event

What: Distraction Dodger online video game for teens and young adults
When: Saturday, Sept. 15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Ridgedale Center, 12401 Wayzata Boulevard, Minnetonka

Contacts: Shawn Haag, Center for Transportation Studies,, (612) 423-4502
Ann Avery, State Farm,, (402) 613-3881

September 13, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS/ ST. PAUL (09/13/12) – The Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at the University of Minnesota is partnering with State Farm to help teens and young adults understand the importance of distraction-free driving Saturday, Sept. 15 at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka.

CTS will use its popular online game Distraction Dodger to help carry the message promoting safe driving. The game will be featured at Celebrate My Drive, State Farm’s new approach toward teen driving, which launches Sept. 15 with the Ridgedale Center event and others nationwide. CTS is one of several community partners in the Twin Cities area participating.

Distraction Dodger is an Internet-based video game for young people and newly licensed drivers developed by the Intelligent Transportation System Institute, part of CTS. In the video game, players drive a virtual pizza delivery vehicle while avoiding obstacles, traffic tickets, damage to the vehicle and personal danger.

At the event, held inside and outside at Ridgedale Center, teens and their families can try a go-kart that simulates the difficulty of distracted driving, see a rollover crash simulator, and test their skills against Distraction Dodger. Several participating metro area high schools will stage performances throughout the day. In addition, teens will have the chance to win prizes—one will win a new car—and one local high school will receive a $100,000 grant in connection with this special day.

According to the National Safety Council, distractions are the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. The use of a cell phone for texting or calling is a particularly well-documented danger, significantly slowing a driver’s reaction time and increasing the likelihood of a crash. Other demonstrably dangerous driving distractions include visiting with passengers, eating and drinking, using a navigation system, applying make-up, shaving and adjusting audio systems.

State Farm awarded CTS a $25,000 grant to promote safe driving among youth and student organizations as well as driver education programs over the coming year.

For more information on Distraction Dodger, visit For more information on State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive, visit

About the Center for Transportation Studies
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Transportation Studies solves vexing transportation challenges in innovative ways, convening diverse communities to brainstorm, debate, share, learn and act. CTS partners with local and global transportation professionals, stakeholders, businesses and leaders to move new ideas from research to reality. For more information, visit

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