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“Project Yellow Light” Names 2024 Student Scholarship Winners Spotlighting the Dangers of Distracted Driving Through PSAs

Eight students from across the nation awarded scholarships for their winning TV, Radio and Billboard creative

NEW YORK, NY, (June 28, 2024) – In its 13th year, the Ad Council and Project Yellow Light announced the winners of the annual Project Yellow Light scholarship competition. This contest offers students an opportunity to create TV, radio and billboard PSAs to educate their peers about the dangers of distracted driving, specifically cell phone usage while driving. The winning PSAs will be seen in New York City on June 28 on a digital billboard in Times Square, and in space donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.

Established in 2007, Project Yellow Light honors the memory of Hunter Garner following his death in a car crash at age 16. According to the latest data, in 2022 there were 3,308 people killed and an estimated additional 289,310 people injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. Eight percent of fatal crashes, 12% of injury crashes and 11% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2022 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

Supporting partners include Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), Elephant Insurance, iHeartMedia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National 4-H Council and PIX 11. Scholarships for this year’s winning students are supported through Clear Channel Outdoor and Elephant Insurance.

The contest received over 2,985 submissions this year from students representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The 2024 scholarship prizes were awarded to:

  • Texting Shatters Lives (billboard design, college): Lucy Bonolo-Cohen (Weston, FL)
  • Better Friends Wait (billboard design, high school): Ruth Gale (Blaine, MN)
  • Stay Focused, Stay Safe (radio, college): Jackson Kuja (Madison, CT)
  • Ridiculous Risks (radio, high school): Hunaina Hirji (Yorba Linda, CA)
  • Spotlight (video, college): Danny White (Las Vegas, NV), Riley Rawson (Longview, WA) and Todd Jackson (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Don’t Die Distracted (video, high school): Hannah Komulanien (Richmond, VA)

This year’s entries were judged by a variety of advertising industry executives and artists who lent their time to support this scholarship competition. The panel for this year included recording artist and songwriter Aloe Blacc; renowned filmmaker and social activist Kweku Mandela; Wendy Clark, Partner at The Consello Group; Wordsworth + Booth President Tony Mennuto; Co-Chairman and Partner of Goodby Silverstein & Partners Jeff Goodby; award-winning poet, songwriter, and author IN-Q; and representatives from The Martin Agency, Organic and additional Project Yellow Light partners.

The Ad Council and NHTSA have been partnering to raise awareness on the dangers of distracted driving since 2012. Support for the Project Yellow Light Scholarship competition is an extension of efforts between the Ad Council and NHTSA as a part of the broader Distracted Driving Prevention Campaign.


  • “In 2024 we received a record number of entries and I’m grateful of each of every person who took part in the scholarship competition—they are all winners in my book,” said Founder of Project Yellow Light, Julie Garner. “None of this would be possible without the amazing creativity of the winning students, and the leadership and guidance of our amazing partners. Project Yellow Light is fortunate to have such incredible support in furthering our cause to prevent distracted driving.”

  • “Project Yellow Light empowers students to develop messages that connect with their peers, that speak their language and encourage them to make safe choices behind the wheel,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman. “I’m honored to congratulate not only the Project Yellow Light scholarship winners, but the almost 3,000 students who cared enough to submit an entry.”

  • “When a message about saving lives from distracted driving comes from teens to teens, the work resonates with youth in a uniquely effective way,” said Michelle Hillman, Ad Council chief campaign development officer. “The winning students are so talented, and each year we are proud to recognize their creativity and dedication to raise awareness on such an important issue."

  • “As distracted driving continues as one of the leading causes of deaths among U.S. teens and young adults, Project Yellow Light serves as a driving force for change, inspiring our nation’s youth to create important safety messages that resonate with their peers and influence behavior,” said Dan Levi, EVP & CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor. “We congratulate this year’s winners for using their creativity and the power of media to educate the next generation of drivers and help prevent future tragedies.” 

  • “Congratulations to the winners of the 2024 Project Yellow Light and the Hunter Garner Scholarship! We wholeheartedly support the unique talents these young people apply to communicating the risks of distracted driving to their peers,” says Alberto Schiavon, CEO of Elephant Insurance. “It’s been our privilege and honor to support the important mission of Project Yellow Light for the past 6 years.”

  • “For 10 years iHeart has teamed up with Project Yellow Light and the Ad Council to source peer-to-peer created messaging that reminds young people how critical it is to remain undistracted when behind the wheel of a car,” said Jessica King, Senior Vice President, Communications and Community Engagement at iHeartMedia.  “Project Yellow Light is helping to save lives, while inspiring future media leaders to create meaningful content that iHeart is proud to air.”

  • “PIX 11 is proud to support Project Yellow Light’s mission to curtail distracted driving. We congratulate the next generation of creative minds who produced such impactful messages,” said Alex Lee, PIX 11 Traffic Reporter and New York Living Co-Host. “I’m extremely proud to support this cause that I feel so connected to.”

The Ad Council
The Ad Council convenes creative storytellers to educate, unite and uplift audiences by opening hearts, inspiring action and accelerating change around the most pressing issues in America. Since the non-profit’s founding, the organization and its partners in advertising, media, marketing and tech have been behind some of the country’s most iconic social impact campaigns – Smokey Bear, A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Love Has No Labels, Tear the Paper Ceiling and many more. With a current focus on mental health, gun safety, the opioid epidemic, skill-based hiring and other critical issues, the Ad Council’s national campaigns encompass advertising and media content, ground game and community efforts, trusted messenger and influencer engagement, and employer programs, among other innovative strategies to move the needle on the most important issues of the day.

To learn more or get involved, visit, join the Ad Council's communities on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, and view campaign creative on YouTube.

Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CCO) is at the forefront of driving innovation in the out-of-home advertising industry. Our dynamic advertising platform is broadening the pool of advertisers using our medium through the expansion of digital billboards and displays and the integration of data analytics and programmatic capabilities that deliver measurable campaigns that are simpler to buy. By leveraging the scale, reach and flexibility of our diverse portfolio of assets, we connect advertisers with millions of consumers every month.

Elephant Insurance
Elephant Insurance is an auto insurance company that provides consumers with the tools and advice they need to buy and use auto insurance. Elephant is known for its customer focus, innovative pricing, and inclusive work culture. Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, Elephant is a wholly owned subsidiary of Admiral Group, plc., a FTSE 100 company and one of the U.K.’s leading insurers with a presence in eight countries and millions of customers worldwide. Elephant is rated in the excellent range on Trustpilot and is certified as a Great Place to Work®. To learn more, visit

iHeartMedia, Inc. [Nasdaq: IHRT] is the leading audio media company in America, reaching over 90% of Americans every month. iHeart’s broadcast radio assets alone have more consumer reach in the U.S. than any other media outlet; twice the reach of the next largest broadcast radio company; and over four times the ad-enabled reach of the largest digital only audio service. iHeart is the largest podcast publisher according to Podtrac, with more downloads than the next two podcast publishers combined and has the number one social footprint among audio players, with seven times more followers than the next audio media brand, and the only fully integrated audio ad tech solution across broadcast, streaming and podcasts. The company continues to leverage its strong audience connection and unparalleled consumer reach to build new platforms, products and services. Visit for more company information.

For more than 50 years, 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 seat belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of distracted, drunk and drug-impaired drivers; regulating vehicle 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 visit

PIX 11
WPIX-TV (PIX 11) was founded in 1948. It was bought by Mission Broadcasting, Inc. in 2020 and is operated by Nexstar Media Group. Long been regarded as a groundbreaking station in New York, PIX 11’s successful primetime programming, award-winning news, extensive library of hit movies, first-run programs, off-network sitcom favorites, quality children’s programming and public affairs shows, as well as outstanding event coverage, have contributed to the station’s success. PIX 11 has earned hundreds of Emmy® Awards including multiple awards for Outstanding Morning News Program, Outstanding Newscast, and Interactivity. The station has been honored with numerous other prestigious awards for excellence in reporting, news coverage, public affairs, specials, and features.

Project Yellow Light 
Project Yellow Light is a scholarship competition where high school and college students create compelling PSAs persuading their peers to develop safe driving habits. This project gives students a voice and a role in preventing car crashes — one of the leading causes of death of teenagers and young adults in the U.S. Project Yellow Light 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 winners receive the Hunter Garner Scholarship.

Media Contact
The Ad Council
Ben Dorf