03/28/16: Pinellas County Tax Collector and Sheriff kick off Distracted Driving Awareness Month


March 28, 2016
Brenna Haggar, Manager of Public Affairs
(727) 902-9666 or bhaggar@taxcollect.com

Pinellas County Tax Collector and Sheriff kick off Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Rawlings Elementary student, Dayton Petrone, will be honored this Wednesday for using art to educate residents about the dangers of texting and driving

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, MARCH 28, 2016 – Pinellas County Tax Collector Diane Nelson and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri will honor elementary art student Dayton Petrone for his use of art to convey an important and timely message, “Honk if you love Jesus, text if you want to meet him.” The event will take place at Dayton’s school, Rawlings Elementary, on Wednesday, March 30, at 9 a.m. at 6505 68th Street North, Pinellas Park.

Did you know that five seconds is the average time drivers’ eyes are off the road while texting? When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field, blindfolded. (Distraction.gov, 2016)

Dayton’s artwork has inspired the Tax Collector and Sheriff to work on a collaborative “don’t text and drive” campaign that will roll out in all tax collector offices this summer.

As part of the Kids Tag Art Pinellas pilot, Dayton created the memorable artwork for his vanity tag. Kids Tag Art Pinellas is a community partnership program that brings businesses, students, families, government, and the public school system together to increase awareness about the importance of arts in our community and to raise money to support arts education. Elementary students created unique tag art that was available for purchase online. For more information, visit kidstagartpinellas.org.

“It is imperative that we teach all generations that texting and driving don’t mix,” said Diane Nelson, Pinellas County Tax Collector. “As Pinellas County’s only source for driver license issuance, I feel a responsibility to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. I am so proud to honor Dayton for his exceptional talent and for understanding the powerful effect art can have on people. Art can convey memorable and important messages in a way words simply cannot.”

“I would like to thank Dayton for using his artistic talent to help us get the word out about the dangers of texting and driving,” said Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. “The bold colors and caption of his artwork send a clear message about the serious consequences of distracted driving, that we hope will serve as a reminder to all.”

“Dayton’s sense of humor and his ability to incorporate lightheartedness into his artwork make him a bright light in my classroom,” said Mary Anderson, Dayton’s Art Teacher at Rawlings Elementary. “For his Kids Tag Art Pinellas project, Dayton chose to recreate a public service announcement that addresses the dangers of texting and driving.  While bright and colorful, his artwork clearly conveys the message that texting while driving can have dangerous consequences.”

Click here to download a copy of Dayton’s artwork.

Distraction.gov. (2016). Distracted Driving: Facts and Statistics. Retrieved 23 February 2016, from http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html

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ABOUT THE PINELLAS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE: The Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office is a constitutionally elected office. Responsibilities include collecting and distributing state and local taxes and providing driver license and motor vehicle registration services to Pinellas County residents. The Office received the 2013 Governor’s Sterling Award for performance excellence. For more information visit taxcollect.com/newsroom.


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