Friday, May 3, 2013

Project Yellow Light Video Contest Winners For 2013 Announced

Project Yellow Light is a scholarship competition designed to bring about change. As an applicant you have one clear mission: encourage your peers to develop and embrace safe driving habits. For both the high school and college contests, the first-place winner will receive a scholarship in the amount of $5,000. Second-place finisher will receive $2,000. Third-place finisher will receive $1,000. Mazda Motorsports is a major supporting partner. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

Project Yellow Light Video Contest Winners For 2013 Announced

An important part of the process of being a participant in the Mazda Motorsports Ladder System for driver development is to be an advocate for safety in automobile operation.

Kenton Koch, an 18 year old Glendora High School student and Mazda Ladder race car driver, finds time to give safe driving education at high schools near race day locations throughout the country - as do many of the drivers associated with Mazda Motorsports. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

As a component of this outreach agenda, ladder participants/alumni Ben Albano, Kenton Koch, and Elliott Skeer acted as judges in the second annual Project Yellow Light scholarship contest supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Mazda Motorsports, the Ad Council and the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS).

Project Yellow Light is a film competition for high school seniors and college students designed to create compelling video stories that will convince 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 film 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 number one killer of teenagers and young adults in the U.S.

Grand-Am Series GX Class race winning race car driver, Joel Miller enjoys sharing a moment with the media about the outreach activities of Mazda on behalf Project Yellow Light at the 2013 Mazda Motorsports media day last month. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

As part of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, entrants were asked to develop and produce a short video that would depict for their peers the dangers of risky mobile behavior on our Nation’s roadways.  The high school grand prize was awarded to Brittany Devasure, a senior from North Carolina, for her video, and, for the first time, the contest was open to college students. Rachel Hall, who studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, was recognized as the grand prize winner for her video.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011, eleven percent of all drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of driv­ers who were distracted.

"Distracted driving is a national epidemic, and our youngest drivers are particularly at risk," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We know that young drivers listen to their friends, which makes the Project Yellow Light ads so powerful.  Today’s scholarship winners have helped raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving, and are potentially saving the lives of other teen drivers as well."

The ladder development racers Mazda Motorsports have dubbed the "MAZDASPEED 7"- with Bryan Hixon, Peter Portante, Patrick Gallagher, Matthew Brabham, Stevan McAleer and Yago Cesário along with the engineering and drivers of Sylvain Tremblay's SpeedSource. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2013)

"As racers we know about driver safety and take the subject very seriously.  With our extensive team of teenage race drivers, and our longstanding partnership with the Skip Barber Racing School, active support of Project Yellow Light was a natural fit for Mazda Motorsports." said John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. "Everyone at Mazda was impressed with both the quality and quantity of entries this year, and we were happy that our support allowed the Project Yellow Light team to add a category for college students."

This year’s contest ran from November 2012 through March 2013 and received nearly 500 submissions. 

Second place prizes were awarded to high school senior Sophie Koorhan of Pennsylvania and Katherine Duffy, a student at the University of Southern California. Third place prizes were given to high school senior Joanne Ly of California and Rahul Sharma, a college student at New York University.

All of the winners will receive college scholarships and One-Day Teen Survival Skills Classes at the Skip Barber Racing School, provided by Mazda Motorsports. Additionally, the first place winners’ videos will be digitally distributed to air as Public Service Announcements (aka PSAs) by the Ad Council to their network of more than 1,500 TV stations nationwide.

... notes from The EDJE

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