Bruton students win distracted driving video contest

Bruton students win distracted driving video contest

Being distracted while driving can have serious consequences, as Bruton High School students Damaris Forkey, Macy Marotta and Olivia Garcia depicted in their winning video essay they submitted for the third annual No 2 Distracted Driving campaign. 

Forkey, Marotta and Garcia won a $3,500 cash prize plus an additional $3,500 for their school for receiving the highest number of online votes for their video essay Fall Festival.

A panel of judges narrowed the field to four semi-finalists.  The public determined the winner by voting for its favorite video at  During the three week voting timeframe a total of 44,861 votes were cast.

Monetary awards were also given for the second, third and fourth place videos.

Twenty students or student groups from Hampton Roads high schools took the challenge to create video essays that illustrate the dangers of distracted driving.  The other three finalists and runners up are:

  • “Don’t Text and Drive” by Justin Newell, Trey Ogden, Brendan Ackleson and Robbie Nye of Grassfield High School
  • “I Would Know” by Phil Archer of Bruton High School
  • “Put It Down” by Jill Seward of Bruton High School

The Cox Communications, Drive Smart Virginia, GEICO and Hall Automotive distracted driving video essay contest was designed for high school teens 14-19 years of age. 

Eligible students created video essays up to two-minutes in length to illustrate the hazards of driving while distracted (texting while driving, talking on the phone, talking to their passengers, applying make-up, eating, etc.). 

“A huge round of applause to all the students who participated in the No 2 Distracted Driving video essay contest this year,” said Jean Mahon, Hall Automotive’s Marketing Director.  “We couldn’t be more proud of the response to our call for entries; if this endeavor prevents just one crash from happening due to distracted driving, we’ve made a difference.

These students have demonstrated the reasons that distracted driving is so dangerous for teens and for us all. Hall Automotive is committed to keeping our community safe, especially our children.”

“These students creatively shared a very important message and are setting an example of safe driving for their peers,” said Matt Mitchell, GEICO AVP of claims.  “In the end, they’ve made an impact on keeping our streets safer for drivers and pedestrians and for that we can all be proud.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers under the age of 20 are the most distracted; 71% of teens and young people say they have composed/sent SMS messages while driving and 78% say they have read an SMS message while driving. 

And the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute says 25% of teen drivers respond to a text message every time they’re behind the wheel.  Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

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