The Fulton County Safe Communities Coalition and community members recently selected the winners of the Teen Distracted Driving Awareness Billboard Contest.
Winners of the challenge to create a public service billboard, also sponsored by State Farm Insurance, were Mason Conway of Archbold High School, who received top honors for the most votes, and Hayden Callicotte and Jaxcyn Nofziger of Swanton High School. Mason receives a $100 prize and will have his design displayed on four billboards in Fulton County. Hayden and Jaxcyn will each also receive $100.
Students were encouraged to create their own billboard artwork using whatever medium they chose, including graphic design, drawing, painting, and photography, among others. A panel of judges from the Fulton County Safe Communities Coalition and community members selected the winning entries based on creativity, originality, and how well the importance of not driving distracted was communicated.
The prize money and billboard displays were funded through a $2,500 State Farm Safe Driving Grant awarded to the Fulton County Safe Communities Coalition. The billboards will be on display during Teen Driver Safety Awareness month in October.
According to the 2018 Fulton County Youth Health Status Report, in the past 30 days, 40% of youth drivers ate while driving; 36% drove while tired or fatigued; 34% talked on their cell phone; 24% texted while driving; and 20% used their cell phone for purposes other than for talking or texting.
Studies show that driving 55 miles per hour for five seconds is the equivalent of covering the length of a football length. Texting or engaging in any non-driving activity for five seconds while at the wheel is a potential distraction and increases the risk of crashing.
“Teens have a great influence on their peers,” said Rachel Kinsman, Fulton County Health Department Safe Communities coordinator and health educator. “Seeing the billboards created by their peers will help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.”
The winning contestants will be presented their awards by State Farm representatives Jodi Herman and Jeff Lambert and Safet Communities representatives Rachel Kinsman and Karen Pennington at their school districts’ respective board meetings.