The Colorado Department of Transportation is launching a statewide anti-distracted driving video contest for high school students to create a public service announcement.
[Above image by the Colorado DOT]
The agency said students are invited to create their own anti-distracted driving video for the chance to win money and be featured in Colorado DOT’s awareness campaign.
The video concepts and production style are entirely up to the students and can be either live-action or animated, and students can work individually or in groups. All videos should be 30 to 90 seconds in length and all high school students residing in Colorado are eligible. Submissions will be accepted until April 10 through the agency’s “Distracted Driving” website.
This effort is part of a grant the agency received from the Governors Highway Safety Association and General Motors in October 2022 to decrease distracted driving related fatalities and injuries, noted Darrell Lingk, highway safety office director for the Colorado DOT.
“Distracted driving is a dangerous habit that many drivers develop at a young age,” he said in a statement. “We hope this contest will spread the message far and wide about the dangers of distracted driving and motivate teens to think twice before reaching for their phones when behind the wheel.”
The agency noted that younger drivers in Colorado are increasingly at risk when behind the wheel. In 2022, there were 103 deadly crashes involving drivers 20 years old and younger in Colorado – a 37 percent increase from 2019 when 75 fatal crashes involved drivers in the same age group.
Nationally, distracted driving is rampant on U.S. roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 3,142 people died in distraction-related crashes in the U.S. in 2020, the most current year for which data is available, with another 400,000 people injured annually.
Many state departments of transportation are already working on a variety of efforts to stop distracted driving.
For example, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety is working with law enforcement partners through March 11 on a statewide campaign to stop dangerous, aggressive driving.
In May 2022 , the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation co-sponsored a distracted driving prevention campaign with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department and Pennsylvania State Police. That campaign reminded motorists to silence text and email notifications while driving to reduce crashes caused by distracted driving.
The California Department of Transportation, in partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety, launched a statewide education campaign and video contest in April 2022 that encouraged motorists to “Get Off Your Apps” and put the phone away while driving.
Meanwhile, in January, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol began continued their joint efforts to constructed distracted driving “safety corridors” across the state.
Their latest corridor development effort dovetails with a bill signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine (R) on January 3 that strengthens distracted driving laws in Ohio.
That law, which goes into effect in April, makes the use of cell phones and other electronic communications devices while driving a primary traffic offense for all drivers, and allows law enforcement to immediately pull over a distracted driver upon witnessing a violation.
“Ohio’s new law is part of a comprehensive plan to make Ohio’s roads safer for everyone,” said Gov. DeWine in a statement. “By strengthening prohibitions against distracted driving and enhancing patrols in problem areas, it’s our goal to bring about systemic change in driver behavior that discourages the use of electronic devices while driving.”