Green Bay student gets national attention for distracted driving PSA

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

(WFRV) – Eating, drinking, loud music, GPS, talking on the phone, and the most alarming distraction…  texting.  

Although all ages are guilty of distracted driving, Toyota launched their Teen Drive 365 Video Challenge to help bring awareness particularly to new drivers. Students were asked to self-produce a 30-60 second PSA-type video on safe driving. 

Nearly 1,000 students submitted, only 10 were chosen as finalists. One being Jadin Baillie, a student at Bay Port High School. 

Drivers do tasks like those above that may seem simple enough under the guise of “multi-tasking” but have cost almost 3,000 people their lives in just one year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota’s Mobility Manager, Caitlin Acap says the Teen Drive 365 Challenge was designed not only as a build off on their reputation for safety but the desire to resonate with teenagers. The idea is have their peers show some common distracted driving habits, and give solutions to provide safer habits behind the wheel. “How can we make teenagers think twice before making those bad decisions.” She says.  

Baillie says his idea for the video was to do a play on the Olympic games. “Distractathon Decathlon” turns what looks like nothing serious for drivers to accomplish while behind the wheel into just how dangerous these habits can be. Baillie’s video shows driver “challenges” like eating, talking with vehicle passengers, and texting. 

NHTSA states that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. Traveling at 55 mph, that’s comparable to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Toyota named Baillie’s video as a finalist due to the creativity, and humor, but also touched on the dangers of multi-tasking while driving.

Acap says it showed the seriousness of these choices, “If we continue to do these things we’re not only putting ourselves in danger but those around us in danger as well.”

In a NHTSA statistic, among those killed by distracted driving in 2018 included 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists. 

NHTSA says teens can be the best messengers with their peers. They are encouraged to speak up when they see a friend driving distracted and posting to social media to remind friends, and family not to make these deadly decisions. 

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