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To:            Superintendents and Principals

From:        Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner of Education

Date:         January 17, 2006

Subject:    Maine Department of Transportation Announces The Annual Back Seat Driver Poster Contest:

            By now, principals and fourth grade teachers in your district should have received a postcard with the link above reminding them that the sixth annual Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Backseat Driver Contest is now open for entries. The contest challenges students to design a road sign poster containing a Work Zone Safety message. Seven regional finalists will each win $200 for their classes, and the grand prize winner will win an additional $1,000. These funds can be used for any activity the class wants, so I encourage you to participate.

            Safe driving in Work Zones is a major concern of the MaineDOT and for me as well. The Maine Backseat Driver Contest is designed to teach students the do's and don'ts of driving safely in Work Zones - encouraging them to be “backseat drivers” by reminding their parents to drive safely too.

            Please encourage all of your 4th grade teachers to participate. This is a fun and educational activity that contributes to Learning Results by providing appropriate lesson plans that teach Maine geography and mapping, as well as information on what signs mean and rules of the road.

            This win-win opportunity teaches our students safe driving habits, contributes to their knowledge of Maine, and gives them the resources to share with their parents and other motorists about safe driving habits.

            Again, I encourage the 4th grade classes in your district to participate. All entries must be postmarked by March 6th. More information about the contest along with student activities and curricula resources can be found at