This week in Harrisburg, PennDOT has announced that it is sponsoring a statewide contest for high school students. The aim is to encourage sincere awareness and actively discourage drivers who text, talk, and even search the internet on their phones. Students are asked to submit a thirty (30) second radio Public Service Announcement that promotes safe driving. The winning PSA will be professionally produced and publicly aired by radio stations in the student's regional media market.
The hope is that students will use the contest to project the real dangers of driving while be distracted. In the process, it will also be an opportunity for these participating students to realize how devastating their actions can be when they take safety for granted and pick up that phone to call or text. In addition, these kids' messages will impact not only themselves and their peers, but parents as well, who at times can be just as guilty of driving while distracted.
Distracted driving creates an obvious safety risk to drivers of all ages; however, it is predominantly relative to young, inexperienced drivers. In a recent study done by PennDOT, 2010 endured 14,294 crashes around Pennsylvania that involved drivers who were distracted while texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in any other number of distracting acts like putting on make-up, eating, or playing with the vehicle's compact disc player or radio. PennDOT reported that approximately 37% of these crashes involved drivers who ranged in age from 16-25, the most of any demographic.
The contest is open to all high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. They are asked to submit recorded scripts in MP3 or MP4 format if possible, but of course students may also submit a written script. A finalist will be chosen from each of PennDOT's eleven districts. The winning students will then be invited to Harrisburg where their project will be recorded and sent off to radio stations in each of the eleven districts.
Students may begin submitting entries by email to RAfirstname.lastname@example.org. They can also submit entries by mail to:
PennDOT Press Office, c/o Erin Waters
8th Floor-Keystone Building
400 North St., Harrisburg, PA, 17120
Note: It is imperative that entries are received or postmarked by 23 March 2012 and a complete list of contest rules can be found at www.DriveSafePA.org.