Annual “Project Yellow Light” Scholarship Contest Announces the Newest Class of Student Winners
Raising Awareness of Dangers of Distracted Driving
Winning High School and College Students Will Have TV, Radio and Billboards Distributed Nationally
NEW YORK, — Today, the Ad Council and Project Yellow Light announced the winners of the 12th annual Project Yellow Light scholarship competition, a unique opportunity in which students create TV, radio and billboard PSAs to educate their peers about the dangers of distracted driving, specifically the dangers of using your phone while driving. The winning PSAs will be showcased on June 30 on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square, in space donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.
Experience the full interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/9094553-project-yellow-light-scholarship-contest-announces-student-winners/
“With over 2,600 submissions this year, coming from all 50 states and D.C., we are ecstatic to announce the 2023 Hunter Garner Scholarship winners and celebrate their important role in our mission of saving lives,” said Project Yellow Light Founder, Julie Garner. “Thanks to the creativity of these students and our partners’ support, we are making a difference by reducing the number of crashes caused by distracted driving.”
Project Yellow Light was established in 2007 by the family of Hunter Garner to honor his memory after his death in a car crash at age 16. In 2021, drivers in the 15-20 age group made up 8 percent of drivers in fatal crashes but were 11 percent of all distracted drivers and 16 percent of drivers distracted by cell phones in fatal crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.
For nearly 12 years, Project Yellow Light and the Ad Council have collaborated to place the winning student PSAs on 1,800 TV stations, iHeartMedia radio stations, and Clear Channel Outdoor’s total of more than 1,700 digital displays across the U.S.
“Peers are crucial messengers to reach teens, and this message of saving lives from distracted driving is as timely as ever,” said Michelle Hillman, Ad Council Chief Campaign Development Officer. “For 12 years, we have been continuously impressed by the talent and creativity shown by our winning students and their PSAs. We are thrilled for this year’s student winners.”
Supporting partners include Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), Elephant Insurance, iHeartMedia, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), National 4-H Council, the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), PIX 11, and WKRN-TV Nashville. Scholarships for this year’s winning students are supported through Clear Channel Outdoor and Elephant Insurance.
The contest received over 2,600 submissions this year. Entries were received from students representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The 2023 scholarship prizes were awarded to:
- A Dinosaur’s Distraction (video, high school): Madison Salee (Wylie, TX)
- Self-Care (video, college): Zoë Taylor (Overland Park, KS), Rachel Ankeney (Fort Worth, TX), Bethany Curtis (Memphis, TN)
- On and Off (billboard design, high school): Sydney Waldrop (Bothell, WA)
- Don’t Scroll (billboard design, college): Jami Pandiscio (Franklin, MA)
- Multitasker (radio, high school): Jaden Nybakken (Minneapolis, MN)
- DND (radio, college): Kambria Cook (Richmond, VA)
This year’s entries were judged by a number 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 Project Yellow Light partners.
“Project Yellow Light continues to have a powerful impact in many ways, from reminding drivers to stay focused on the road to giving students the opportunity to use their voice and creativity to drive positive change,” said Dan Levi, EVP & CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor. “We applaud this year’s winners for creating these lifesaving messages and are incredibly proud to showcase their work in Times Square and across the nation.”
“It has been an honor to support Project Yellow Light and the Hunter Garner Scholarship for the past five years. We believe the peer-to-peer messaging around the dangers of distracted driving is a powerful and effective approach to protecting young drivers,” said Elephant Insurance CEO Alberto Schiavon. “Congratulations to this year’s winners for approaching this topic with passion, creativity and technical skill.”
“iHeart’s partnership with Project Yellow Light, now in its sixth year, remains a critical initiative for iHeart,” said Jessica King, Senior Vice President, Communications and Community Engagement at iHeartMedia. “Vehicular fatalities are at an all-time high and distracted driving is a serious concern, especially among young people, and we hope to reach teens even more effectively through this unique campaign, using peer-to-peer created messaging to remind them to remain engaged and undistracted when driving.”
“Project Yellow Light is an incredible nationwide program that leverages the power of young people to drive social change in traffic safety,” said Jacob Smith, Executive Director, National Organizations for Youth Safety. “NOYS is proud to partner with Project Yellow Light and harness the power of young people to help prevent distracted driving.”
“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, Traffic Reporter and New York Living Contributor, PIX 11.”I’m extremely proud to support this cause that I feel so connected to.”
Through the Distracted Driving Prevention campaign, the Ad Council and NHTSA have been working together to prevent distracted driving since 2012.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council convenes the best storytellers to educate, unite and uplift—by opening hearts, inspiring action and accelerating change. Since our WWII founding as a nonpartisan nonprofit, the Ad Council and our partners, who include leaders across the marketing and media communities, have been behind some of America’s most recognizable and impactful campaigns, including Smokey Bear, A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, and Love Has No Labels, which champions diversity and inclusion in all forms. Our historic COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative was the largest and most urgent communications effort in American history. And with a current focus on mental health, racial justice, and other critical issues, we won’t stop until we’ve built a culture where everyone can thrive. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit AdCouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs 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 across more than 500,000 print and digital displays in 22 countries.
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 listed by Forbes as one of America’s Best Insurance Companies and certified as a Great Place to Work®. To learn more, visit elephant.com.
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 iHeartMedia.com 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 www.nhtsa.gov.
National 4-H Council
National 4-H Council is the non-profit partner to the nation’s largest youth development organization. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local Extension offices. 4-H programs empower nearly six million young people across the U.S. through experiences that develop critical life skills. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs to empower one million youth in 50 countries.
National Organizations for Youth Safety
National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) is a national youth-powered organization leveraging 25+ years of collaborative engagement and expertise to position young people to lead in addressing the most pressing youth health and safety issues affecting them today – with traffic safety being a key issue. Founded by the U.S Department of Transportation, NOYS has played an integral part in the traffic safety industry by supporting youth (15-29) in developing youth-led traffic safety programs and campaigns. Youth are mobilized to take action through peer-to-peer education, community mobilization, and youth-powered advocacy. Learn more at www.NOYS.org.
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.
WKRN-TV Nashville and wkrn.com are part of Nexstar Media Group. Nexstar Media Group is America’s largest local television and media company with 200 full power stations in 116 markets and a growing digital media operation. WKRN-TV Nashville serves the Mid-state of Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.