A Georgia college student from Colorado, Josh Falkum, is one of the top winners in the Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship’s distracting-driving prevention video contest. David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, announced the winners recently at the start of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, as Todd Solomon writes on the U.S. Department of Transportation blog, Fastlane. The 2014 grand prize winners are high school student Dylan Malburg of Grand Rapids, Mich., and college students Paul Price, of Flower Mound, Texas, and Falkum, of Frederick, Colo., who both attend the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Each top-winning video director or team won a $5,000 scholarship created to honor the memory of Hunter Garner, who at age 16 was killed in a 2007 car crash in Fredericksburg, Va., according to projectyellowlight.com.
The winning videos will be distributed by the Ad Council to its network of more than 1,600 TV stations nationwide to air as public-service spots for a full year, according to Hunter’s mother, Julie Garner, co-founder of Project Yellow Light. The two top-winning videos were chosen by a panel of judges from among more than 400 submissions.
Global Youth Traffic Safety Month honors young people who work to promote traffic safety, and empowers youth to create educational projects that protect teens as drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians; support law enforcement; help bring about laws that protect teen drivers and their passengers; and encourage teen seat belt use, Solomon writes. Friedman told young people who attended a kick-off of the safety month: “You are going to save the lives of friends and neighbors and countless others that you may never meet because you’re actively engaged in your communities to make them safer.”
The grim statistics Friedman shared included the fact that in 2012 alone, more than 3,400 people between 15 and 20 years of age died in car accidents. Of those, 55% were not wearing seat belts, 48% were speeding, 28% had been drinking, and 9% were distracted, Solomon writes. As this blog has reported, the DOT launched a major campaign last month to prevent distracted driving.
Although the 9.4 million young people between ages 16 and 24 comprise only 4.7% of licensed U.S. drivers, they are involved in 10.1% of fatal accidents and 13.5% of all accidents, Solomon writes. Friedman encourages all drivers to take personal responsibility, which he calls “a key ingredient to ensuring that we, and others on the roads, are safe.”
Here are the winning videos: