As I wrote last week, Loren Vaillancourt has been working hard as Miss South Dakota to educate young people about the dangers of distracted driving. This week, Loren faces her next big challenge: the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.
This year's Miss America pageant features an America's Choice category where the public--that's you and me--can watch contestant videos. I'm embedding Loren's video below so you can see that she has built her entire video message around the campaign to end distracted driving. Whatever happens with the pageant, that makes her a winner in my book.
Those inspired by Loren's efforts to educate young drivers and soon-to-be drivers about the dangers of texting or talking on a cell phone while driving should consider opportunities in their own communities to promote an anti-distraction message.
Look, I think all of these young women are to be congratulated for their thoughtful service platforms. But Loren Vaillancourt, Miss South Dakota, has taken on a cause that is central to DOT's core priority: safety. And she has done a terrific job raising awareness among young people in South Dakota.
Now, through her partnership with State Farm's "Teen Driver Safety" Facebook page, she is extending her reach. All week at the Miss America pageant, Loren will be posting to the sfteendriving page and--whenever possible--updating her video diary there.
I have said before that DOT cannot win the fight to end distracted driving alone; we need support from those willing to help spread the message that this behavior kills. For all that she has done to raise awareness about this problem, Loren has contributed exactly that kind of support.
This week, as Loren takes her campaign against distracted driving to the next level, I wish her all the best and thank her for her efforts.