CHICAGO - A high school junior from Crown Point, Ind. has won the third annual Drive Safe Chicago PSA Contest.
Hannah Christy, 17, was one of three finalists from nearly 100 entries. Her script about the danger of drowsy driving was professionally produced, along with the scripts by two other finalists, by an Emmy Award-winning director who came to her school recently and worked with her and classmates to produce the finished 30-second spot. The public voted for their favorite through the Chicago Auto Show's Facebook page and Christy's ad handily won with 727 votes, more than 56 percent of the total votes cast.
Christy will receive a $2,000 prize from The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit group that promotes safe driving. The contest, held in conjunction with the Chicago Auto Show, invited teens to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving with a public service message. Christy's TV spot be shown on the Auto Show's social media video wall throughout the show, which is open to the public from Feb. 11 - 20. It will also air later this year on more than 220 TV stations nationwide.
The other finalists, Payton Ball, 18, and Mackenzie Taulbee, 17, attend school with Christy at Porter County Career Center in Valparaiso, IN. Their teacher, Bob Phelps, brought the contest to the attention of his classes and more than three dozen of his students entered. Taulbee, whose ad placed second with 290 online votes, will receive $1,000.
"We are happy that so many young people have used their creativity to help educate their peers about the risks of distracted driving," said David Reich of The National Road Safety Foundation. "Hannah's spot highlights drowsy driving, which is an aspect of distraction that doesn't get as much attention as texting and cell phones. Drowsiness is a factor in an estimated one-third of fatal traffic crashes."
Christy's PSA, which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1oMkFjtj-4, shows a teen up late at night studying. She gets up early and drives to school, yawning and struggling to keep her eyes open. As he dozes and misses a stop sign, the screen goes black and we hear the sounds of a crash. The spot closes with the words "Driving Drowsy can be a Nightmare."
"Distracted driving is a serious risk that needs to be addressed at all levels," said Mike McGrath, Jr., 2017 Chicago Auto Show chairman. "While today's cars are safer than ever, with many innovations that help avoid crashes and protect occupants in the event of one, driver inattention continues to be a major factor in crashes. We think all the Drive Safe Chicago finalists have done an excellent job communicating the message that distracted driving is dangerous driving."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates more than 3,300 people are killed every year due to distracted driving, and tens of thousands more are injured. The most talked-about causes of distraction are texting and cell phone use, but drivers, specially teens, can also can be distracted by too many passengers in the car, use of other mobile devices like GPS, as well as adjusting sound system controls, talking with passengers or even eating.
The winner of Drive Safe Chicago last year was Abigail Evans, then a senior at Washington Township (Ind.) High School. Rachel Diaz, who was a student at Porter County Career Center in Valparaiso, won the first Drive Safe Chicago contest in 2015.
Information about distracted driving and the Drive Safe Chicago Contest can be seen at www.nrsf.org/teenlane/content/drive-safe-chicago
The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that for more than 50 years has been dedicated to reducing crashes, deaths and injuries on our nation's highways by promoting safe driving habits through greater public awareness.
NRSF produces documentaries, educational programs and public service campaigns for broadcast and for use in safety, educational and enforcement programs by police, teachers, traffic safety agencies, healthcare professionals, youth advocacy groups and other grass-roots related agencies, as well as federal, state and local government agencies. NRSF programs, which are free, deal with distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driver proficiency and pedestrian safety. The Foundation also works with youth advocacy groups and sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities. For more information or to download free programs, visit www.nrsf.org or www.teenlane.org.
The Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show on the continent, spanning more than 1 million square feet of production, concept, and exotic vehicle exhibit space. In addition to hosting multiple world and North America vehicle debuts, the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity raises more than $2 million annually for 18 vital Chicago organizations in a single night. The 2017 public show will be February 11-20. For more information, visit ChicagoAutoShow.com or Facebook.com/ChicagoAutoShow.