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U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood, Congressional Leaders and Jordin Sparks Join Allstate in Urging Americans to Stop Texting and Driving
Date:4/27/2010

NORTHBROOK, Ill. and WASHINGTON, April 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood joined singing sensation Jordin Sparks, Congressional leaders and Allstate senior executives to urge Americans to take a pledge not to text and drive.

"Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic, and we need to work together to stop thousands of unnecessary injuries and deaths every year," said Secretary LaHood.  "I applaud the efforts of Allstate to encourage Americans to take personal responsibility and help put an end to this dangerous behavior."

LaHood joined Members of Congress and Allstate to highlight the success of Allstate's "X the TXT" campaign, which encourages teens and their parents to take their thumbs off of their electronic devices, and not text while driving.  This campaign is part of Allstate's broader efforts to make our roads safer, especially for young drivers.  American Idol superstar Sparks and her mom Jodi kicked off the campaign in November 2009 when they publicly pledged not to text and drive by leaving their mark – in this case, their thumbprints – on a pledge banner that traveled the country this past holiday season.

The X the TXT movement began with an official 30-city tour with live pledge events, a Facebook virtual pledge page, as well as a petition urging Congress to address the issue of texting while driving.

To date, over 75,000 Americans have pledged not to text and drive, and close to 5,000 individuals have signed the petition urging Congress to pass federal legislation banning texting while driving.

Allstate hopes more people will join the cause in urging Congress to create stronger laws, not just to ban texting while driving, but to make young drivers safer drivers.  One way to do this is through the enactment of graduated driver licensing guidelines that allow new drivers to gain valuable experience under supervised and less risky conditions.

"Eleven teens die every day in car crashes. Pledging not to text and drive is a powerful act that anyone can take to help ensure those we love come home safely," said Bill Vainisi, vice president and deputy general counsel at Allstate.  "But we can and must do more.  More young lives will be saved when our efforts to change social norms are backed by strong distracted driving laws and rigorous enforcement.  The time to act is now."

Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions facing drivers today, particularly teens, and car crashes are the number one killer of this age group.  According to a recent Allstate Foundation study, 82 percent of driving teens admit to using cell phones while driving, and 49 percent admit to being extremely distracted by texting and instant messaging while driving.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver distraction contributes to 25 percent of all police-reported traffic crashes.

At the event, Sparks also presented a $25,000 check from Allstate to the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS).  Allstate pledged to donate $1 (up to $25,000) for every person who joined the cause on Facebook.

"Sending a text is not worth taking a life," said Grammy-nominated Jordin Sparks.  "Unfortunately, it can be easy to forget the dangers of texting and driving when you get behind the wheel.  That's why it is important for teens, their friends and families to acknowledge the risks and pledge together not to do it."

To take your pledge to not text and drive, or for more information on the X the TXT pledge program, visit www.facebook.com/thumbsuppledge.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help more than 17 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®.


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