Chiawana students fight unsafe driving, get rewarded

Chiawana students fight unsafe driving, get rewarded
PASCO, Wash. -- Teen drivers are at the highest risk of a deadly wreck.

It's why the state has added more rules to those getting a license for the first time.

But reducing the chance of an accident may be as simple as two-by-two.

You might say Haley McLaughlin has had her eyes on the prize.

"It's really been on creating awareness for safe driving and I think it has bettered the student body," says the he DECA member at Chiawana High.

She was part of a group of students focused on committing our community to safer driving.

And their efforts paid off. Literally.

State Farm surprised the kids with a 25,000 dollar check.

Chiawana was honored from more than four-thousand high schools that took part.
They did it by asking Tri-Cities drivers to pledge better driving habits.

"For the week that we were pledging, we just had people pledging 24-7, you know, staying up at all hours of the night, working as hard as they can. We had a couple girls go to the fire stations and get the fire men on board and we had the police station on board," Haley continued.

They got more than 20,000 drivers to commit to this: two eyes on the road, two hands on the wheel.

It's especially critical for our newest drivers -- who can struggle with ignoring texts or talking on the phone behind the wheel.

Year after year, nearly 40 percent of the crashes in Washington involve young people.
They account for more than 200 teen driving deaths every year.
Statistics that motivated Haley and her fellow DECA students.

"I don't want to see any of my fellow classmates or the same people in the same school as I go to, I don't want to see them dying or getting in car accidents. These are scary things that can happen," she says.

Armed with a giant 25-thousand dollar check, those Chiawana students are ready to combat just that.

The students plan to use the money to further promote safe driving here in the Tri-Cities.

KEPR found the number of deaths involving teen drivers dropped by 57 percent over the past decade.

But it's still more than twice the number of traffic deaths caused by all other ages combined.