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OMG! State agency offers 'Don't Text and Drive' contest

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota teens who want to tell others about the dangers of texting while driving can help spread the message by entering a TV commercial challenge.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety and AAA Minnesota-Iowa are teaming up to offer the contest.

DPS Youth Traffic Safety Coordinator Gordy Pehrson says the goal is to get teens thinking about the issue. And, he says, the commercials are important because teen-to-teen communication is more likely to change teen driving behaviors.

Teens in grades nine through 12 are eligible. The commercials must be submitted by April 19, 2010, and the winning commercial will make its television debut this spring. The top three commercials get cash prizes.

Texting, e-mailing, composing messages and Internet browsing has been illegal for Minnesota drivers since August 2008.