The Ad Council and Project Yellow Light announced the winners of the eleventh 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 mobile device while driving. The winning PSAs were showcased on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square, in space donated by Clear Channel Outdoor.
“We’re thrilled to announce the 2022 Hunter Garner Scholarship winners and recognize their outstanding contribution to our mission — to save lives by reducing the number of distracted driving crashes,” said Project Yellow Light Founder, Julie Garner. “Thanks to their talent and our partners’ fire and energy we are making a difference.”
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 2020, seven percent of drivers 15- to 19-years-old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the fatal crashes.*
For over 10 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 more than 1,500 digital displays across the U.S.
“No one can reach teens like their peers, and the message to stop distracted driving is an incredibly important one to share,” said Michelle Hillman, Ad Council Chief Campaign Development Officer. “The effort, passion and creativity demonstrated by the winning student’s is inspiring and at the very root of Project Yellow Light’s impact. We could not be more 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), and WKRN-TV Nashville. Scholarships for this year’s winning students are supported through Clear Channel Outdoor and Elephant Insurance.
The contest received just under 1,900 submissions this year. Entries were received from students representing nearly all fifty states and Washington, D.C. The 2022 scholarship prizes were awarded to:
2022 Billboard Winners
High School Winner
“Text or Drive” | Isabella Kaake
“Impossible Multitask” | Connor Avila
2022 Video Winners
High School Winner
“Winning Formula” | Justin Hutcheson
“Eyes Up” | Emiliano Diaz Capt
2022 Radio Winners
High School Winner
“School Drive” | Noah Brechbill
“Messages Unseen” | Asher Mitchell
A number of advertising industry executives and artists lent their time to judging the entries. This year’s panel included recording artist and songwriter Aloe Blacc; renowned filmmaker and social activist Kweku Mandela; dentsu international Global CEO Wendy Clark; Wordsworth + Booth President Tony Mennuto; Co-Chairman and Partner of Goodby Silverstein & Partners Jeff Goodby; and representatives from the Martin Agency, Pereira O’Dell and Project Yellow Light partners the Ad Council, CCO, Elephant Insurance, iHeartMedia and National 4-H Council.
“Project Yellow Light gives students the unique opportunity to use their voice, creativity and the power of media to save lives,” said Dan Levi, EVP & CMO, Clear Channel Outdoor. “It is inspiring to welcome this new class of student winners by showcasing their lifesaving PSAs across our nationwide digital billboard network to help prevent distracted driving.”
“Elephant has truly valued our partnership with Project Yellow Light for the last four years, allowing us the opportunity to bring attention to distracted driving and make roads safer,” said Elephant Insurance CEO Alberto Schiavon. “Congratulations to this year’s winners for creating powerful messaging that will impact their peers and ultimately lead to safer roads for all of us.”
“Now in its seventh year, iHeart’s partnership with Project Yellow Light has never been more critical as more and more teens are driving with mobile devices – a known distraction on and off the road,” said Jessica King, Senior Vice President, Communications and Community Engagement at iHeartMedia. “We are once again offering our platform to deliver unique peer-to-peer messaging aimed at inspiring young people to think twice about reaching for their phones or engaging in other high-risk behaviors while driving. We believe this year’s student winners will save lives through their creative, witty and inspiring PSAs.”
“Sadly, it’s becoming more common for us to interview families who have lost a loved one due to a deadly distracted driving crash. The heartbreaking reality is, that these families would still be together if it weren’t for the senseless act,” said WKRN-TV Nashville Emmy-winning journalist Alex Denis. “Please, put the phone down. It’s not worth changing lives forever.”
Through the Stop Texts. Stop Wrecks. campaign, the Ad Council and NHTSA have been working together to prevent distracted driving since 2012.