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Students Selling Students on Safety

Safety scholars concept gets message across

by on Feb.11, 2009

Speaking safety in a language teens understand

Speaking safety in a language teens understand

Sarah Wilson doesn’t need to be told about the problems of distracted driving. She’s got several seriously injured friends to remind her what happens when you split your time behind the wheel texting, cellphoning and simply ignoring the road.

So, it’s not surprising that distracted driving became the 21-year-old University of Southern Florida Junior’s theme when she entered the third annual Bridgestone Safety Scholars Video Contest. Open to filmmakers, ages 16-21, the tire maker’s goal is to get young motorists talking to one another about the risks of driving.

Wilson’s short production, titled “Drive to Arrive,” won her a $5,000 scholarship and a new set of tires. It could also help save some lives, the telecommunications major is hoping.

This was Wilson’s second try for the prize, her first video, shown last year, was far more visually oriented, she recalls. This time around, her emphasis was on the getting a clear message across – not in the typical manner of a safe driving class, the sort of film that helps students catch a nap in Driver’s Ed, however.

“It’s not about what you say,” explains Wilson, adding that, “It’s about how you say it if you’re going to reach this group.” And that meant dialogue that sounds just like the way students speak to one another.

The videos entered into Safety Scholars run no more than 55 seconds. A total of 620 were entered in the 2008 contest, and drew 2.4 million hits on the SafetyScholars.com website, plus more than 100,000 viewings on YouTube. The 10 finalist videos for 2009 will be released on June 25, with the top prize selected by the public.

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