U.S. Department of Transportation, Ad Council and Project Yellow Light Announce Winners of the 5th Annual Student Scholarship Contest to Promote the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Project Yellow Light Billboard Design Contest
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2016 – Today the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Ad Council and Project Yellow Light announced the winners of the fifth annual Project Yellow Light scholarship competition. The contest calls on students to develop and produce a short video educating their peers on the dangers of using mobile devices behind the wheel of a vehicle. For the first time, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas has joined longstanding partners Mazda Motorsports, the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and U-Haul to launch the first Project Yellow Light out-of-home media design contest. The winners of both the video and out-of-home design contests will be unveiled this afternoon on a digital billboard in New York’s Times Square that was donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.
Brothers Sam and Wrenn Senser from Louisville, Nebr. scooped the two grand prizes of $5,000 for the video contest, with Sam winning the college category, and Wrenn winning the high school category. The winners of the out-of-home media design contest were college student Bethany Wheeler from Snellville, Ga., and high school student Emily McDonald from Anaheim, Calif., with both receiving $2,000 scholarships. The winning videos can be viewed here.
In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and an estimated additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the latest NHTSA data. Teens are some of the worst offenders: 10 percent of drivers between 15 and 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Project Yellow Light was established in 2007 by Julie Garner of The Martin Agency, in memory of her teenage son Hunter Garner who was killed in a fatal car crash. The annual competition aims to encourage young adults to be safe on the road, and generate education and engagement around this issue.
“We’re extremely indebted to all the students who took part in this year’s video and out-of-home contests, as each participant is helping fight the battle against texting while driving,” said Julie Garner. “Project Yellow Light is honored to be supported by all the students lending their voices to this cause, as well as its amazing partners, including our latest partner, Clear Channel Outdoor, which has generously promoted the winners’ designs.”
“Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly habit on America’s roadways and the Department of Transportation has made it a priority to encourage people to stay focused on driving when behind the wheel,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “Texting and driving puts teenagers’ lives at risk as well as others around them. The work of the competition winners will help more drivers see that staying focused on driving is the only way to stay safe on the road.”
To further the reach and impact of the peer-generated campaign, since 2011 Project Yellow Light has partnered with the Ad Council to turn the winning videos into public service advertisements (PSAs) for distribution to their national network of more than 1,600 media outlets. This year’s billboard design contest winners will see their designs placed on billboards throughout the country, courtesy of Clear Channel Outdoor Americas.
“Nothing is more impactful to teens than a message from a friend or peer, and that’s what makes Project Yellow Light so powerful,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Every year I’m amazed by the creative ideas that come in from students across the country, and I hope this new round of creative will encourage even more teens to think before driving while distracted.”
The 2016 video and billboard design contests received more than 883 submissions from 49 states. Winners were selected from two age categories: high school juniors and seniors, and college students. Second and third place prizes for the video contest were awarded to high school students Clancey Buhler of West Jordan, Utah, and Gavin Ng of Alpharetta, Ga., and college students Jacob Mitchell of Monroe, Ohio, and Alex Kline of Phoenix, Ariz. Second and third place winners receive $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. All scholarships for the video and out-of-home design contest are provided by Mazda Motorsports and U-Haul, which is also providing first place winners with up to $2,500 in moving expenses.
Since launching in 2007, Project Yellow Light has garnered widespread industry support with a host of experts and celebrities lending their time to the judging panel. This year’s panel included: YouTube creator and actress Meg DeAngelis; recording artist and songwriter Aloe Blacc; renowned filmmaker and social activist Kweku Mandela; CEO of North America at DDB Worldwide, Wendy Clark; Co-Chairman of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Jeff Goodby; Chief Creative Officer at Pereira & O’Dell, PJ Pereira; and representatives from Project Yellow Light partners Mazda Motorsports, NOYS, U-Haul, the Ad Council and The Martin Agency. Clear Channel Outdoor Americas VP and Creative Director, Paul Livornese and Pereira & O’Dell Executive Creator Director Dave Arnold also lent their expertise for the 2016 out-of-home media design contest.
“Mazda Motorsports is proud to have so many of our young racers actively involved with Project Yellow Light,” added John M. Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports. “Teenagers, who are also professional race drivers, are uniquely positioned to convey the seriousness of the topic in a peer-to-peer manner. Project Yellow Light is also a great match for Mazda as a company with our Mazda Drive for Good program. I can’t wait to see the winners work on TV and on billboards around the country.”
“At the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), we know the power of youth reaching youth,” said Anita Boles, CEO. “We work to empower teens with the education, tools and resources they need to go into their communities (at home and online) and reach their friends with life-saving and life-enhancing messages. Project Yellow Light is a fun, creative way for youth to get involved in making a difference, and we are proud to be a partner in this effort.”
“We congratulate the winners and acknowledge all of the students who invested their time and talent into spreading this life-saving message as part of the Project Yellow Light competition,” U-Haul Executive Vice President Stuart Shoen said. “Your films and billboard designs have the ability to reach and inspire fellow students. As a result, more young people will understand that no text or call is worth taking your eyes off the road. U-Haul customers and their families will experience safer travels as a result of your outstanding work.”
Through the Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks. campaign, the Ad Council and NHTSA have been working together to address distracted driving among teens since 2012. To date, the campaign has received more than $211 million in donated media support and the campaign has garnered more than 2 million visits to the campaign website stoptextsstopwrecks.org.
Project Yellow Light
Project Yellow Light is a film and out-of-home billboard competition for high school juniors and seniors and college students, designed to persuade their peers to develop safe driving habits. The project was created by Julie, Lowell and Alex Garner in memory of their son/brother, Hunter who died tragically in a car crash in 2007. Each year the winner of the competition receives The Hunter Garner Scholarship. Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship is a non-profit organization that began in Hunter’s school, Riverbend High in Fredericksburg, VA, with aspirations to inspire and motivate youth all over America. The program is designed to give young adults a voice and a role in reversing the number of car crashes — the leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults in the U.S. To learn more, visit projectyellowlight.com.
For more than four decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has served as the key federal agency charged with improving safety on our nation’s roadways. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA is working to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by promoting the use of safety belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of drunk drivers; educating road users about the risks associated with distracted driving; regulating safety standards and investigating safety defects in motor vehicles; establishing and enforcing fuel economy standards; conducting research on driver behavior and traffic safety; and providing consumer information on issues ranging from child passenger safety to impaired driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of public service campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit Adcouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.
Mazda Motorsports boasts the most comprehensive auto racing development ladder system of any auto manufacturer in the world. The Mazda Road to 24 program offers a number of scholarships to advance drivers up the sports car racing ladder, beginning with the Global MX-5 Cup series and culminating with the Mazda Prototype team. The Mazda Road to Indy is a similar program that includes Mazda-powered categories of USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. In grassroots road racing, more Mazdas race on any given weekend in North America than any other manufacturer. Mazda is also the title sponsor of the renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Follow all of the latest news at MazdaMotorsports.com, @MazdaRacing on Twitter, and MazdaMotorsports on Instagram and Facebook.
National Organizations for Youth Safety
NOYS was originally founded as the Traffic Safety Collaboration, and for its first 10 years was supported by funding from government agencies, including the Department of Transportation. In 2005, NOYS became a 501(c)(3) organization and incorporated as the National Organizations for Youth Safety, and has since grown to include over 80 national member organizations. NOYS continues to maintain a strong focus in traffic safety with support from government and business and industry, and has expanded to include other safety areas such as injury prevention, substance abuse prevention, and violence prevention.
Since 1945, U-Haul has been the No. 1 choice of do-it-yourself movers, with a network of more than 20,000 locations across all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces. U-Haul customers’ patronage has enabled the U-Haul fleet to grow to more than 135,000 trucks, 107,000 trailers and 38,000 towing devices. U-Haul offers more than 491,000 rooms and more than 44 million square feet of self-storage space at owned and managed facilities throughout North America. U-Haul is the largest installer of permanent trailer hitches in the automotive aftermarket industry and is the largest retailer of propane in the U.S. www.uhaul.com
The Martin Agency
The Ad Council
Jason D. King
Clear Channel Outdoor Americas