23 March 2011




CONTACT: Michele Harris, director, Traffic Safety Culture, AAA Auto Club South, (813) 289-5831 office, (813) 728-1230 cell, MMHarris@aaasouth.com


King Features Syndicate/AAA Spotlighting Dangers of Teens Texting While Driving

Popular comic strip Zits to help raise awareness of dangers of texting while driving through an array of AAA resources targeted at teens

TAMPA, Fla. (March 23, 2011) –Leading comics syndicate, King Features Syndicate, and AAA partnered to help put a stop against one of the most dangerous issues currently facing young drivers, texting while driving. Twenty-four percent of teen drivers admit to sending a text message while driving in the past 30 days, according to research by AAA and Seventeen magazine. To help raise awareness and educate teen drivers on this serious issue that affects millions, King Features and AAA will launch an anti-texting while driving program featuring one of today’s most popular comic strips, Zits, which chronicles the daily adventures of 16-year-old Jeremy Duncan.

“While most of us would never think of closing our eyes for even a few seconds while driving, many motorists do essentially the same thing when they text and drive,” said Michele Harris, director, Traffic Safety Culture, AAA Auto Club South. “Taking your eyes off the road for a three-second text at 70 miles-per-hour equates to driving blind for the length of a football field. Teens are especially vulnerable to the dangers of texting and driving because texting has become a big part of staying in touch with friends.”

Zits creators Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott helped bring attention to the risks of texting while driving earlier this week with the start of a special week-long series which found Jeremy at the center of a car crash involving texting. The Zits comic strip appears in more than 1,600 newspapers and has millions of daily readers around the world. As part of the anti-texting while driving campaign, AAA has developed a series of resources for parents and teens on its Keys2Drive website at TeenDriving.AAA.com, which incorporate Zits artwork and strips from the recent texting storyline. The new interactive AAA teen site also incorporates important information for parents as they play a critical role in helping teach their kids safe driving techniques and habits.

Beginning last year, King Features also teamed up with AAA in effort to help keep teens safe on the road by taking part in AAA’s StartSmart program which helpsfamilies get through the crucial period when teens are learning to drive. An array of Zits comic strips are prominently featured throughout the year-long StartSmart program and its series of e-newsletters that focus on important topics related to teen driver safety and parent involvement such as driving at night, conducting supervised driving distractions.

Distributed by King Features to more than 1,600 newspapers in 45 countries and 15 languages, Zits features the daily adventures of the quintessential teenager With his loving parents, Walt and Connie Duncan, his best friend, Hector, and his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Sara Toomey, by his side, the perpetually slouching and disheveled Jeremy treads the murky waters of adolescence in oversized sneakers. Zits is the brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Jim Borgman, and award-winning cartoonist-writer Jerry Scott, who also co-creates the popular “Baby Blues” strip. Zits established itself early when it launched in July 1997 in more than 200 newspapers – one of the largest start-ups in comics history.

AAA Auto Club South is the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 79 branch offices serving more than 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, Middle/West Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. Since its founding in 1938, AAA Auto Club South has worked to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.





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