The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is teaming up with the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety on the "Be a Winner Behind the Wheel" campaign to provide safe driving messaging to teens, their families and their communities.

Zack Rosenberg, of the NJSIAA, said the campaign is a year-long effort to reach student-athletes in the greater high school sports scholastic communities during championships and during the school day to keep kids safe. It's a unique opportunity to reach them with messaging, and safe driving habits.

The campaign is designed not only to reach student-athletes but also to those who directly influence them like coaches, athletic trainers, teachers and parents.

Rosenberg said at the end of the day the teens will be better informed with this messaging campaign and hopefully better equipped to make safer driving decisions while they're on the road.

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The campaign focuses on five key areas of safety including prevention of impaired driving, the components of the state's Graduated Driver License, via the "Stick to It" campaign, as well as the dangers of speeding, the mitigation of risk of distracted driving through the "Take Control of your Destiny" campaign and seat belt awareness.

He said the core values of scholastic sports center around safe, healthy playing environments and healthier lifestyles. Driving is new to teens and a major part of their lives so it's important that they're safe while doing it.

"They're going to be driving to practices, driving to games, but really driving everywhere and we have an opportunity to be a positive influence in that," said Rosenberg.

The content of the campaign can be accessed on social media and at championship events throughout the year. Also, soon there will be a microsite in conjunction with Highway Traffic Safety where kids can take the safe driving pledge, which students are encouraged to take.

Simply by checking out is where a lot of the division's content currently is as they continue to build on it in the coming months, said Rosenberg.

"From the perspective of competing in high school sports and where it all comes together through this campaign, if you can be safe on the roads, get to where you need to be and put safety first, you're going to be a better teammate," said Rosenberg.

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