Teens Tackle the Issue of Distracted Driving in
Safe Driving Video Contest
Winners of the 2009-2010
DMV Teen Safe Driving Video Contest
State and other highway safety advocates honored teens April 12, 2010, from around the state for their efforts to show other teens that distracted driving can kill and injure by even a moment of inattention at the wheel of a car.
Eleven teams of high school students were culled to be finalists from the nearly 80 teams submitting entries for the DMV's teen safe driving video public service announcement contest. It challenged students to create a 30-second public service announcement on the perils of distracted driving.
Top honors went to Monroe, Durham and Darien high schools whose student PSAs ranked in first, second and third place to share in a $9,000 cash prize for their schools from Travelers Insurance Companies. It donated prizes to students and their high schools for the contest that drew entries statewide from more than 300 participating students.
"All of us, including teenagers, have seen the consequences of distracted driving,” said Doreen Spadorcia, Executive Vice President and CEO of Travelers Claim and Personal Insurance. “These videos really capture the importance of staying safe behind the wheel. We’re proud of the students for lending their voices to such an important message.” Travelers hosted the awards ceremony at its Windsor, CT, Travelers Claim U Training Facility.
Joshua Cranmer (student director), Evan Fulton, Jeff Garland, Caleb Newell and Joey Schweizer
Austin Nunes (student director), Jason Gundry, Kendra Manthey, Joshua Rubin and Michelle Wnuk
Lindsey Schaffrick (student director), Calvin Brown, Sarah Johnson, Jeffrey Mailhot and Kenna Smith
Robert Fucci (student director), Gabrielle DeRosa, Ryan Jones, Denonte McKinney and Theresa Vittorio
Victoria Piscatelli (student director), Christina Gutierrez, Julia Kelly, Chelbi Wade and Chelsey Wiese
Andrew Rock (student director) and Christopher Keane
The 2009-2010 Theme - Distracted Driving
Distracted driving in 2008 claimed 5,870 lives nationwide in police-reported crashes when at least one form of driver distraction occurred, according to federal officials. Another estimated 515,000 people across the country were injured. Distracted driving comes in various forms, such as cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, as well as using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
Connecticut has a number of laws that relate to distracted driving, including a ban on 16- and 17-year-old drivers using a cell phone – even with an ear device – or other mobile electronic device. A first offense carries a three-month license suspension and $225 in fines and license restoration fees.
National attention that focused on these dangers, particularly the cell phone and text messaging that so many teenagers do outside of the motor vehicle, led DMV last August to choose the topic. To enter the contest called, “From the Driver’s Seat to the Director’s Chair,” high school students were asked to shoot, direct and edit a 25-second public service announcement video.
It could mention a number of distractions that occur while driving and it must mention at least one of the following teen driving laws related to distracted driving:
Passenger restriction laws.
Laws against talking on a cell phone while driving.
Laws against texting while driving (mobile electronic device use).
The DMV plans to use nearly 80 videos submitted in a variety of outreach programs that it conducts as well as offer them to schools, businesses, government agencies, advocacy groups and other partners in teen safe driving.
Promotional sponsors of the contest include the Connecticut Police Chief’s Association, Mourning Parents Act (!MPACT- a bereaved parents group), Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Office.
Winning Student Teams
Masuk High School in Monroe will receive $4,000 for first place, Coginchaug Regional High School in Durham will receive $3,000 for second place and Darien High School will receive $2,000 for third place. In addition, first and second place students will each receive a video camera and third place students will each receive a $100 Best Buy gift card, all as prizes from Travelers. WFSB-TV will also air the videos as public service announcements and students from the 11 finalist teams have been invited to appear on the Plaza during the CBS Network's Early Show.
A total of eight teams of runners up and finalists also received certificates from Travelers, the State of Connecticut and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A panel of judges representing highway safety advocates selected the winners as well as runners up and finalists from the entries.