Simulating distracted driving

MVU tenth grader Benjamin Magnant takes the wheel of the Doron 550, a mobile driving simulator classroom.

BARRE — The third #802phonesdown!headsup! video public service announcement contest is open for entries, and Vermont high school students are encouraged to submit theirs through March 15.

The contest, facilitated by the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA), is timed in line with the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April with the five contest winners being notified on or before April 15. At that time, the date of the virtual award ceremony will also be announced to the public.

A total of $3,000 in cash prizes is up for grabs.

The contest is designed to encourage young drivers, their friends, and their peers to avoid distracted driving.

“Every distracted-driving death is preventable,” read a press release from the VHSA. “A few seconds can change a life forever. Unfortunately, people text and drive on Vermont roads every day, despite a law that forbids it.”

The goal of the contest is to have its participants research the issue of distracted driving and then produce a 25-second video that can enact change and spread the message that texting while driving is unacceptable. The safety alliance is hoping that the videos will offer a relatable perspective for other young drivers.

Vermont students in grades 9-12, including those from cross-border high schools and those who are home-schooled, are eligible to submit an entry. The winning videos will then be shared on social media by the VHSA and safety partners.

A committee will judge the submissions for the top awards while the public will be able to vote for a special People’s Choice Award.

The contest is sponsored by the VHSA, AAA New England, Yankee Driving School, the Youth Safety Council of Vermont, Co-operative Insurance Companies, Midstate Dodge, and AT&T.

For more information, visit

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