NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 19, 2008) – Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC has announced the results of its second Safety Scholars video contest, in which drivers ages 16-21 create short auto safety-themed videos. Three grand prize winners, plus one Critics’ Choice winner, were selected from 10 finalists through an online voting process that was open to the general public on www.SafetyScholars.com. More than 10,000 online votes were tallied.
All four winning videos will be used as public service commercials for Bridgestone Firestone. Winners also receive a $5,000 college scholarship and a trip to the 2009 Chicago Auto Show, where they will showcase their videos to automotive journalists from around the country.
“The Safety Scholars contest allows us to address a literal life-and-death issue with teens via a method that resonates with them,” said Christine Karbowiak, Vice President of Community and Corporate Relations for Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. “Every day, fatal auto collisions claim the lives of more than 20 young drivers, so we want to make sure that Bridgestone’s youth safety education programs are compelling to the audience we’re trying to reach.” Teenagers’ online response to the contest has been particularly strong, with nearly 100,000 YouTube viewings and a network of friends on MySpace and FaceBook.
About the winners:
Danny Belkin of Rockville, MD, is a film buff attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Belkin’s video features a narrator warning viewers about the dangers of behind-the-wheel cell phone use. Belkin’s inspiration for the video came from witnessing countless distracted taxi drivers talk on their cell phones while navigating New York City’s busy streets.
Ryan Massey, an 18 year-old from Laguna Niguel, CA, used a powerful first-person account as the basis for his Safety Scholars video. Massey was involved in a car accident that claimed the lives of two of his friends, both of whom were not wearing seat belts. Massey himself suffered critical injuries, and entered the contest as an opportunity to communicate with his peers about the importance of seat belt usage.
Sarah Wilson of Tampa is a junior at the University of South Florida, majoring in Mass Communications. She is an aspiring independent filmmaker with numerous short films and PSAs to her credit. Wilson’s video features a group of teenagers recounting a collision they were involved in as a result of text messaging behind the wheel. The camera then pulls back to reveal that the teens are actually ghost-like images standing in a graveyard.
A special Critics’ Choice award was given to 17-year-old Angela Roscioli of Bethlehem, PA. After Roscioli witnessed a collision near her home, she wondered how a car accident would affect her and her family. In her video, a young girl flashes forward to write a farewell letter to her parents before getting into a car with friends. Her letter details the fateful decisions she and her friends will make while behind the wheel, and the fatal car accident that results from their poor choices.
Bridgestone Firestone developed the Safety Scholars initiative in 2006 to promote driver safety and education among America’s youth. Initially, the competition took the form of an essay contest, which received more than 20,000 submissions. $2,500 scholarships were awarded to three top winners. In 2007, Safety Scholars became video-based and the scholarship amounts were increased to $5,000 each.
In addition to Safety Scholars, Bridgestone Firestone has invested in a myriad of innovative driving and tire safety education initiatives specifically targeted at young drivers. The Bridgestone brand serves as presenting national sponsor of Driver’s Edge, a hands-on safe driving course that’s offered free of charge to teens in selected U.S. cities. The company has also aired a series of tire safety public service announcements featuring Mario Andretti, legendary racer and Firestone spokesman. Andretti has also toured the country talking to students about auto and tire safety, encouraging the young drivers to learn their M.A.R.I.O’s (Mario Andretti’s Real Information on Safety). The company has distributed more than 40,000 M.A.R.I.O’s safety booklets to teens across the country.
About Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC:
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to its customers in North America. In addition, through its Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions unit, retreading customers have access to industry-leading research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales expertise, providing them with a total tire solution.