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Vote now for teen-produced traffic safety TV spots

ST. PAUL -- Students from Willmar Senior High School have produced a television commercial for the 2009 Buckle Up, Teens TV Commercial Contest. The public can log in to view and vote for their favorite spot between now and May 18 at

Mitchell Konieczny, Carrie Boike, Tom Chester, Mitch Fader and Kylen Vossen, Willmar students, have produced "When the Time is Right, Buckle Up" for the contest, which is sponsored by the state Department of Public Safety and AAA.

Other finalist spots are from students at Buffalo, Cretin-Derham Hall and Wayzata high schools and from a home-schooled student from Elk River.

The teens are competing for a $1,000 first-place prize and a broadcast premiere of their spot this summer. Prizes also include $600 for second and $400 for third place.

The goal of the contest is to raise awareness of traffic crashes, which are the leading cause of death for teens due to inexperience, seat belt non-use, distractions, speeding and taking risks behind the wheel and nighttime driving. In the past three years, 149 teen motorists were killed in crashes and nearly 60 percent were not buckled up.