For Immediate Release:Spetember 19, 2019 Contact:Camille TravisOTS Marketing and Public Affairscamille.firstname.lastname@example.org(916) 509-3030 The OTS Launches Poster Contest for Middle School Students Poster messages to focus on bicycle, pedestrian safety Sacramento, Calif. – The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) announced today a new statewide poster contest for middle school students to highlight ways to “go safely” while biking or walking. The contest details were released as part of an education event for Pedestrian Safety Month at Sacramento’s Martin Luther King, Jr. school. The contest is open to all California sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Each grade has the chance to win a laptop (first place), tablet (second place) or art set (third place, honorable mention). During the event, MLK school students had the chance to get a close look at a California Highway Patrol car, practice best ways to cross the street safely and take photos in a pedestrian cut-out booth encouraging walking free of distractions. Students also received bike bells, reflective wristbands, helmet decals and tip cards. “The safety of students is paramount in every community,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “We hope the contest allows students to think outside the box and come up with impactful messages that empower their peers to put safety first when on the go.” Pedestrian safety remains a significant traffic safety issue for all age groups. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) projected that more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed nationwide last year, the highest number since 1990. In 2016, the city of Sacramento had the highest rate of pedestrians under the age of 15 that were injured or killed out of 15 California cities with more than 250,000 people. Sacramento also had the second-highest rate of bicyclists under the age of 15 injured or killed compared to other cities of a similar size over the same time period. “It’s all about changing behaviors,” Director Rooney said. “Nobody should expect to get hit by a car walking or riding their bike, especially students. But everyone plays a role in preventing crashes.” Students can learn more about the contest rules, download poster templates, and submit their entries online at gosafelyca.org/poster-contest/. The contest ends on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m. The OTS administers funding for traffic safety programs statewide with the goal of reducing crashes that result in deaths, injuries, and economic losses. The OTS is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).