Videos created by West Hartford students have earned three of the 10 spots in the 2013 DMV safe driving contest.
The three videos, made by students at Hall High School, were chosen by a total of 27 judges, including Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Atty. Gen. George Jepsen, Travelers executives and other teen driving safety advocates from around the state, from a total of 128 entries in this years contest, the DMV announced in a news release Monday. Approximately 480 Connecticut students were involved in the contest.
Five overall winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on April 2. The following prizes donated by Travelers, the corporate sponsor, will be awarded to the winning students' schools: $5,000 for first place, $4,000 for second place, $3,000 for third place, $2,000 for fourth place, and $1,000 for fifth place.
This year's theme, chosen by students on the DMV's Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Teen Safe Driving, was "Teen Safe Driving: Are You In?" It was intended to be a simple and straightforward message, and one that would engage "influential people, such as parents, friends or other teens, to help send a convincing message about safety to teens who are driving now or getting ready to obtain a license."
“I applaud these students for their great work and their commitment to safety,” said Gov. Malloy in the release. “We have some of the strictest teen driving laws in the nation – laws that help keep our youngest drivers safe – but that is only half the battle. Ensuring our teen drivers have the information they need to develop good driving habits and be responsible behind the wheel will keep Connecticut’s roads safer for everyone.”
The 25-second video public service commercials are designed for promoting driving-related safety messages on television, websites, and through various forms of social media.
In addition to the three Hall High School videos, teams from Arts at the Capitol Theater (Willimantic), Daniel Hand High School (Madison – 2 teams), New Canaan High School, Simsbury High School, Weston High School, and Waterbury Arts Magnet High School were selected for the top 10.
All of the videos can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/teensafedriving12
According to the release, four multi-cultural languages videos designed to reach diverse audiences were also reviewed by judges. A team from Hall, as well as from Darien High School and Norwich Free Academy also submitted videos in this newly-created category.
In the release, Atty. Gen. Jepsen said, “The creativity and the quality of the all videos were impressive. The participants should be proud of their work and their efforts to bring home this important message to teen and adult drivers. We all need to be in on safe driving.”
Travelers Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer said in the release that he is thankful for all of the students for taking a leadership role in promoting safe driving practices for teens. “This contest continues to be a great way for teens to reach their peers and remind them about the responsibility they have when they get behind the wheel,” he said.
DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey said the contest, which began after the state's 2008 toughening of teen driving laws, "helps us with the high visibility needed for spreading the message continually about teen safe driving."
Hall also had three videos make the top 10 in last year's contest. That theme was “Safe Driving – How a Community Helps to Make Safe Drivers.” The school earned third and fourth place, as well as an award for "Creativity and Resourcefulness" and for "Most Views on YouTube." In total, the students from Hall won $6,000 for their school.
According to the release, Connecticut has been a national leader in "enacting and upgrading teen-driver legislation" and was identified in 2012 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as "having a system that can produce the fewest crashes among the 50 states."
Over 85 percent of parents support the laws as being effective in reducing crashes, injuries, and deaths, the release states.