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Scholarship competition tackles distracted driving

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Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 14:54:12-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Make a statement, win a scholarship, save a life. That's the mission statement of Project Yellow Light, a scholarship competition that's giving students an opportunity to combat distracted driving and earn some money.

The creator of Project Yellow Light, Julie Garner, lost her son in a distracted driving car crash when he was 16.

"When that happened, we pretty much died ourselves," said Garner. "But knew we wanted to do everything in our power to keep his name alive and also save other young people from meeting that same destiny."

Garner says people know texting and driving is dangerous, but do it anyway. She was sick of safety messages falling on deaf ears, so she recruited high school and college students to get behind the message.

Students across the nation can create a video, radio spot or billboard to win $2,000 or $8,000.

Garner has one request from competitors: speak from the heart.

"It's in their hands and I wanted to give them an opportunity to see what they could do to help reverse this," Garner said.

In the state of Nevada we've improved but still have work to do. Deadly car crashes involving teens have dropped about 47% in the last five years, according to the Nevada Office of Public Safety.

"We strive every single year, every single school year, but the reality is we will have empty seats at graduation for the graduating classes this year," said Nevada Office of Public Safety Public Information Officer Andrew Bennett.

"It's something that we have to work on every single day," he added.

Bennett says peer to peer communication works. Zero Teen Fatalities is built on that model.

"They're hearing it from each other. we are seeing a higher percentage of seat belt usage, lower distracted driving rates, less speeding and less impaired driving as well," Bennett added.

To learn more visit ProjectYellowLight.com.