“Project Yellow Light” Scholarship Contest Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary with New Class of Student Winners to Raise Awareness of Dangers of Texting and Driving
High School and College Students Will Have Winning TV, Radio and Billboards Displayed Nationally
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2021 – The Ad Council and Project Yellow Light announced the winners of the tenth annual Project Yellow Light scholarship competition, which involves students creating a TV, radio or billboard PSA to educate their peers about the dangers of distracted driving, specifically the dangers of messaging while driving. The winning PSAs will be showcased on June 28 on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square, in space donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.
Project Yellow Light was established by the family of Hunter Garner to honor his memory after his death in a car crash at age 16. In 2019, nine percent of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
“Project Yellow Light is delighted to be in its tenth year as a national scholarship competition,” said Julie Garner, founder of Project Yellow Light. “In 2011 we held the contest at one high school in Fredericksburg, VA with a handful of youth – today we reach thousands of students each year in high schools and colleges across the country. None of this would’ve been possible without our amazing partners who have helped us every step along the way. Together we carry the important message to warn and protect our youth from the dangers of distracted driving. Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Hunter Garner scholarship and to all those who took part in this year’s contest.”
Since 2011, Project Yellow Light has partnered with the Ad Council to turn the winning submissions into PSAs that receive national exposure through 1,800 TV stations nationwide, iHeartMedia radio stations, and Clear Channel Outdoor’s nearly 2,000 digital displays.
“Over the last decade, Project Yellow Light has been driven forward through the Garner family’s dedication and leadership,” said Michelle Hillman, Ad Council Chief Campaign Development Officer. “Julie’s passion and her warmth for everyone she works with is one of the reasons why Project Yellow Light has continued to grow and make a lasting impact. We look forward to another ten years of this remarkable initiative.”
Supporting partners include AT&T’s It Can Wait, Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), Elephant Insurance, iHeartMedia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and WKRN-TV Nashville. Scholarships for this year’s winning students are supported through AT&T, which has committed $600 million to education and skills building since 2008, as well as Clear Channel Outdoor and Elephant Insurance.
The contest received 2,069 submissions this year. Entries were received from students representing all fifty states and Washington, D.C. The 2021 scholarship prizes were awarded to:
- It’s Joust Not Worth It (video, high school): Morgan Taylor (Scottsdale, AZ)
- No One’s Good at That (video, college): Angie Benitez-Garcia (Hollywood, FL)
- Leave Them Unread (billboard design, high school): Mia Allen (St. Louis, MO)
- Phone Rest (billboard design, college): Diana Gonzalez Mejia (Houston, TX)
- Are You a Chameleon (radio, high school): Nathan Ong (Annandale, VA)
- Just Don’t (radio, college): Katie Saylor (Boonsboro, MD)
A number of advertising industry executives and artists lent their time to judging the entries. This year’s panel included recording artist and songwriter Aloe Blacc; renowned filmmaker and social activist Kweku Mandela; dentsu international Global CEO Wendy Clark; Wordsworth + Booth President Tony Mennuto; Co-Chairman and Partner of Goodby Silverstein & Partners Jeff Goodby; and representatives from the Martin Agency, Pereira O’Dell and Project Yellow Light partners the Ad Council, AT&T’s It Can Wait, CCO, Elephant Insurance and iHeartMedia.
“As a company focused on safe and clean roads, our team at Elephant Insurance has enjoyed the opportunity to partner with Project Yellow Light for the last three years to bring attention to the risks of distracted driving,” says Elephant Insurance CEO Alberto Schiavon. “We congratulate this year’s winners for delivering impactful messaging that will impact their peers and ultimately create a safer environment for all of us on the road.”
“For the last six years, iHeart has been a proud supporter of the Project Yellow Light program, offering our platform to young creative minds who are dedicated to make a difference in the world,” said Jessica King, Vice President Communications for iHeartMedia. “Distracted driving remains a critical public safety crisis; as we head into the summer, and so many Americans take to the roads, we hope these new PSAs will help spotlight this important issue.”
“The crash and fatality rate statistics around distracted driving are shocking. We must all do our part and save lives,” said WKRN-TV Nashville Emmy-winning journalist Alex Denis. “Put the phone down. No one should suffer the loss of a loved one due to a senseless act that remains so preventable.”
Through the Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks. campaign, the Ad Council and NHTSA have been working together to prevent distracted driving since 2012.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver crucial messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA 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.
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Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCO) is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies with a diverse portfolio of more than 500,000 print and digital displays in 31 countries across North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia, reaching millions of people monthly. A growing digital platform includes more than 17,000 digital displays in international markets and more than 2,000 digital displays (excluding airports), including more than 1,400 digital billboards, in the U.S.
Elephant is a consumer-focused car insurance company headquartered in Richmond, VA with the aim to put its customers at the center of all efforts. Elephant provides auto insurance policies directly to consumers in Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee, and Texas. Elephant Insurance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Admiral Group, plc., one of the U.K.’s leading insurers with a presence in eight countries and over 6 million customers worldwide. More information is available at www.elephant.com.
iHeartMedia, Inc. [Nasdaq: IHRT] is the leading audio media company in America, reaching over 250 million people each month. It is number one in both broadcast and digital streaming radio as well as podcasting and audio ad tech, and includes three business segments: The iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group; the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group; and the Audio and Media Services Group. Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.
For 50 years, 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 seat belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of distracted, drunk and drug-impaired drivers; regulating vehicle 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.
National Organizations for Youth Safety
NOYS was originally founded in 1995 as the Traffic Safety Collaboration supported by funding from government agencies, including the Department of Transportation. In 2005, NOYS became a 501(c)(3) organization and incorporated as National Organizations for Youth Safety. With over 100 organizational members – youth-serving nonprofits, businesses and government agencies, NOYS works collectively to address the most prevalent causes of injury and death among teens and young adults in the US. Learn more at www.NOYS.org.
Project Yellow Light
Project Yellow Light is a film, billboard and radio scholarship competition where high school and college students create compelling stories persuading their peers to develop safe driving habits. This project gives students a voice and a role in preventing car crashes — one of the leading causes of death of teenagers and young adults in the U.S. Project Yellow Light 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 winners receive the Hunter Garner Scholarship.
WKRN-TV Nashville and wkrn.com are part of Nexstar Media Group. Nexstar Media Group is America’s largest local television and media company with 196 full power stations in 114 markets and a growing digital media operation. WKRN-TV Nashville serves the Mid-state of Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
Clear Channel Outdoor Americas
Jason D. King