News Published: Oct 6, 2011 - 11:10 AM

DMV launches fourth annual teen safe driving video competition

By Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles

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WETHERSFIELD, CT - The Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking entries for its fourth annual teen safe driving video contest that builds this year upon last year’s significant success of increased entries from teens around the state talking to other teens about the importance of safe driving.

The contest, which drew a 100-percent increase in entries last year, gives students and high schools a chance to raise driving safety awareness through creating a 25-second public service announcement. This year’s theme will be: “How A Community Helps to Make Teens Safe Drivers.”

Videos must illustrate a specific community effort to help prevent crashes, injuries and deaths among 16- and 17-year-olds, who are the state’s youngest and most inexperienced drivers. The deadline for submitting a video is January 13, 2012. Contest information and rules can be found at

“Safe driving among teens is not just an individual and family concern, it’s also a community issue because any crash, injury or death affects so many people beyond the driver,” DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey. “Each video in this contest will encourage students and their communities to recognize the important connection they have to promote safe driving and it’s also about teens talking to teens on this important safety message.”

DMV sponsors the annual “From the Driver’s Seat to the Director’s Chair” contest in cooperation with The Travelers Companies, Inc.

“Travelers is honored to once again sponsor the Teen Safe Driving Video Contest,” said Doreen Spadorcia, Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, Claim and Personal Insurance for Travelers. “We strongly believe that these videos, with their targeted, peer-to-peer messaging, are one of the most effective ways to help teens understand the importance of avoiding driving distractions and developing safe habits behind the wheel.”

Travelers will award a total of $15,000, an increase from $9,000 last year, to five top-ranking videos placing in the contest. For the last three years the contest has offered three top-ranking prizes with cash awards. The awards go to the high schools of the winning contestants and the money must be used to create teen safe driving programs.

In the first three years of the contest, DMV received a total of about 300 PSAs and participation from over 1,000 students across the state. Last year DMV saw 100 percent increase – to 164 entries – in videos submitted for the contest. The videos have been aired on commercial and cable television stations, in movie theaters statewide and posted on safety advocates’ websites. The top-five winners in this year’s contest will also be offered for airing in these venues.

Promotional sponsors of the contest include the Connecticut Police Chief’s Association; the Connecticut State Police; Mourning Parents Act (!MPACT), a bereaved parents group); the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Yale-New Haven Hospital; Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center; The Connecticut Association of Schools; the state Department of Public Health; The state Department of Insurance, the state Department of Transportation; the state Division of Criminal Justice and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

DMV started the contest in 2008 following its lead in crafting tougher teen driving laws, including longer passenger restrictions and curfews as well as increased penalties for violations and added training requirements (See

(Editors Note: Below is a contest overview that can be used for web pages and other displays of the general criteria for entering the contest.)

The Contest Basics (The complete set of rules can be found at and should be read before entering the contest):

To submit an entry, each entrant must produce (write, shoot and edit to final production) his or her own twenty-five (:25) second public service announcement (“PSA”).

Students may participate either individually or in teams with no more than five (5) students per team producing the video. (However, there is no limit on the number of students who may appear in the video.) One person must be responsible for taking ownership of the entry. Bi-lingual videos are welcomed and encouraged and quality standards and evaluation by judges will also include young women and youth representative of diverse ethnic and racial groups.

This year’s theme is: How A Community Helps to Make Teens Safe Drivers. The video must visually demonstrate or depict how a community can help to make teens safe drivers.

Summary of Video Requirements:

* The video must show how your community is making teens safe drivers.
* The PSA must be exactly twenty-five (:25) seconds in length.
* PSA must also address two specific teen driving laws (See complete list at
* PSA must feature at least two teens and one member of your community, along with any other teens or adults considered necessary for the creative safety message.
* Please read complete rules at to avoid video being disqualified.

Communities play a key role in the development of a teen driver and the promotion of safety. When a teen driver is on the road, his or her actions and decisions can affect an entire community. Teens and their communities are linked through many connections. In this video, the student director must illustrate how the community shapes young drivers to be safe and responsible.
A community can be defined as any group of individuals having connections and agreed upon goals that bring them together. Community members include families, friends, doctors and other health care professionals, neighbors, educators, law enforcement, lawyers, business owners, and others who share in these agreed upon goals, such as helping teens to be safe drivers.

Below are examples of videos teens could create, but creativity is strongly encouraged to also represent other kinds of ideas:

* A doctor talking to teens and parents about how teens' brains are not fully developed until about 25 years old and how this can affect driving abilities.
* An overview of a community effort involving a number of different community members working with teens to help them better understand and practice the state's teen safe driving laws.
* Business owners meeting with prospective teen employees and discussing how safe driving helps them to avoid suspensions that could lead to them being let go from work or being unable to work.
* Parents and teens meeting with the family's lawyer, accountant and insurance agent and discussing both the direct and indirect costs that accidents and teen driving violations can have on the family budget and savings that can come from safe driving.

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