Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today invited high school freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to take part in the first PennDOT Innovations Challenge.
"Every hour, about 15 reportable traffic crashes occur in Pennsylvania and although we have made positive steps towards reducing traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities, a disproportionate number of these crashes involve teenagers," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. "Through PennDOT's Innovations Challenge, we are inviting high school students to become an active part of the solution in helping develop innovative ways to tackle this real transportation concern."
The PennDOT Innovations Challenge asks students to look at technologies and innovative methods, aside from traditional paid advertising, marketing and social media channels, that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to curb unsafe teen driving practices.
"Each day, schools across the commonwealth work to provide a secure, healthy learning environment for students, and it is critical that students remain safe even when they're outside the classroom," said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. "The Innovations Challenge presents an opportunity for Pennsylvania's teenagers to learn and be creative in support of an important cause, and will remind them to practice safe driving when they're on the road."
The Innovations Challenge aims to not only help students explore real transportation challenges that PennDOT is facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for PennDOT after graduation.
"The perception is far too often that PennDOT only employs engineers and equipment operators," Richards said. "While those positions are key to building and maintaining Pennsylvania's vast road and bridge network, the reality is that we employ over 11,000 Pennsylvanians from a huge variety of educational backgrounds."
Through the PennDOT Innovations Challenge, 11 regional winners will be selected and be invited to compete in Harrisburg for the grand championship in April 2018. PennDOT intends for the Innovations Challenge to become an annual event.
For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit www.penndot.gov/innovation. The deadline for submissions is January 31.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Jan Huzvar, PennDOT, 717-783-8800
Casey Smith, Education, 717-783-9802
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