SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Transportation is once again taking applications for its Operation Teen Safe Driving program.

This is the program’s fifth year. It offers cash prizes of up to $2,500 to dozens of schools so they can put on their own programs, highlighting the dangers of drunk driving, texting while driving and other forms of distraction.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

Mike Stout, IDOT’s director of traffic safety, says the program has been a success so far.

“Teen deaths in Illinois have been cut in half,” he said Monday at the Illinois State Fair. “They’ve gone from 160 – 150 to 160 – down to 70 or 80. That’s truly amazing. We hope one day to be able to say zero.”

105 schools participated last year, with entries ranging from assemblies, to crash re-enactments to installation of permanent traffic signs. At least 70 schools will be selected for awards this year. Entrants have until Oct. 1 to apply.