Press Release

U.S. Department of Transportation, Mazda Motorsports, NOYS and the Ad Council Announce Winners of Third Annual Project Yellow Light Video Contest

Distracted Driving Prevention PSAs distributed during Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
U.S. Department of Transportation, Mazda Motorsports, NOYS and the Ad Council Announce Winners of Third Annual Project Yellow Light Video Contest

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 1, 2014 / PRNewswire / — Today the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Mazda Motorsports, National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) and the Ad Council announced the high school and college winners of their third annual Project Yellow Light college scholarship contest as part of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month™.

The contest calls on students to develop and produce a short video educating their peers on the dangers of using mobile devices while behind the wheel of a vehicle. First place winners receive $5,000 in college scholarship funding. The high school grand prize was awarded to Dylan Malburg of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The college grand prize was awarded to teammates Paul Price and Josh Falkum, students at the Savannah College of Art & Design. The winning videos can be viewed here.

“Distracted driving is deadly and young drivers are most at risk, so we need to make sure they get the message,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “The Project Yellow Light contest, which uses peer-to-peer messaging, along with NHTSA’s ’U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ enforcement and advertising campaign are examples of how creative public awareness efforts and effective enforcement can reduce distracted driving on our roads.”

Established in 2007, Project Yellow Light is a video contest and scholarship program started by Julie Garner, of The Martin Agency, in memory of her teenage son Hunter Garner who was killed in a car crash that year. Project Yellow Light was developed to encourage young adults to be safe when first taking on the road.

“We are thrilled with this year’s winners and the talent they are lending to the critical message of distracted driving,” said Julie Garner, Founder of Project Yellow Light. “Project Yellow Light is grateful to our participants, sponsors and the amazing bevy of VIP judges – all who volunteer their time to help save lives. From the world of racing, our judges include - CJ Wilson, Dutch Mandel, Ben Albano, and Tristan Nunez. And from the media, production, advertising and entertainment realm – Kweku Mandela, Wendy Clark, Matt Williams, Jeff Goodby, Helayne Spivak and Aloe Blacc. ”

Second and third place prizes were awarded to high school students Henry DaCosta and Yunmei Li. Second and third place prizes were given to college students Andy Checketts and Bethany Faile. Second-place and third place finishers will receive $2,000 and $1,000 in scholarships, respectively.

All of the winners will receive college scholarships, provided by Mazda Motorsports. Additionally, the first place winners’ videos will be digitally distributed to air as public service advertisements (PSAs) by the Ad Council to their network of more than 1,600 TV stations nationwide.

“Racers take driver safety very seriously,” said John Doonan, Director of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. “Our commitment to motor vehicle and driver safety, makes Project Yellow Light a natural fit for Mazda Motorsports. Many of our teenage race drivers have taken a leadership role in sharing this critical safety message to their pier group.”

“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011, 11% 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 number of distracted drivers. Empowering youth to develop messages that will reach their peers through projects like Project Yellow Light provides them opportunities to learn about current youth issues and engages them to be part of the solution,” said NOYS, Executive Director, Anita Boles.

“Today we congratulate all of the young adults who submitted videos to inspire their peers to put down their phones while driving,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Peer to peer messaging is some of the most powerful. Through Project Yellow Light, we can continue to work with our partners to keep our nation’s youth safe behind the wheel.

This year’s contest ran from October 31, 2013 through March 17, 2014 and received over 400 submissions.

For more than four decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has served as the key federal agency charged with improving safety on our nation’s roadways. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA is working to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by promoting the use of safety belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of drunk drivers; educating road users about the risks associated with distracted driving; regulating safety standards and investigating safety defects in motor vehicles; establishing and enforcing fuel economy standards; conducting research on driver behavior and traffic safety; and providing consumer information on issues ranging from child passenger safety to impaired driving. For more information,

Mazda Motorsports
Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda’s success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

Project Yellow Light
Project Yellow Light is a film competition for high school seniors and college students designed to create compelling video stories that 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.

National Organizations for Youth Safety® (NOYS) is a coalition of national organizations and federal agencies who serve youth and focus on youth safety and health. Through this coalition, NOYS influences more than 80 million young people and their adult advisors. The mission of NOYS is to build partnerships that save lives, prevent injuries, and enhance safe and healthy lifestyles among all youth and encourage youth empowerment and leadership.

The Advertising Council
The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

Media Contacts:
Karen Aldana
[email protected]

Dean Case
Mazda Motorsports
[email protected]

Julie Garner
The Martin Agency
[email protected]

Anita Boles
[email protected]

Lisa Cullen
Ad Council
[email protected]

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