NEW YORK, N.Y. — The winners of the “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” Public Service Announcement Contest were announced on March 28, 2019, by the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF).
Drowsy and fatigued driving is a serious traffic safety issue that nationally results in more than 328,000 crashes annually, taking a toll of more than 6,400 lives and 109,000 injuries every year. Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as drunk, drugged or distracted driving, and high school and college students, young or newer drivers, are especially at an increased risk of driving drowsy.
In an effort to reach college students, the NRSF, a nonprofit organization, partnered with the New York State Department of Health and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to sponsor a “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” PSA contest. The contest was open to students at the State University of New York (SUNY) campuses at Albany, Buffalo and Stony Brook, who were invited to submit 30-second videos that raise awareness about the dangers of driving drowsy.
NRSF has sponsored video contests for middle and high school students for several years, but “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” is the organization’s first-ever contest for college students.
The winning video, titled “Hand ‘em over,” brought a $1,500 prize to Ryan Mullane, 23, a Bronx resident and a graduate student at SUNY Albany. The video depicts an obviously exhausted young man yawning as he gets behind the wheel and starts the car. It then winds backward and before he puts the keys into the ignition, his friend stands by the window with her hand out, waiting for him to give her the keys so she can drive.
“Everyone needs to be rested before they drive, but young people, especially college students, are at greater risk of driving while fatigued,” said Michelle Anderson, NRSF director of operations. “Drowsy driving is not as widely discussed as impaired or distracted driving, which is why these videos are helpful to call attention to this serious issue that impacts us all.”
The second-place prize of $750 went to Edward Stanley, 20, of Patterson, N.Y. Kaylin Connors, 18, of Victor, N.Y. won the $500 third place prize. Both are students at SUNY Albany.
The winning videos were unveiled recently at an event at SUNY Buffalo, where traffic safety experts, a sleep researcher and the sister of a young woman killed in a drowsy driving crash spoke about the issue to hundreds of students.
The Pain Never Goes Away
The students were riveted as Jennifer Pearce, a victim’s advocate who lost her younger sister Nicki in a drowsy driving crash during her first semester freshman year, described in detail the family’s anguish during the aftermath. “The pain never goes away,” she told the students.
The winning video and two runners-up were shown and cash prizes from The National Road Safety Foundation were presented. The videos will be broadcast later this year on more than 160 TV stations nationwide.
The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded more than 55 years ago, produces traffic safety programs on distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driver proficiency, pedestrian safety and a host of other safety issues. It distributes the programs free of charge to schools, police and traffic safety advocates, community groups and individuals. It also sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities. NRSF was established in 1962 by Fraydun Manocherian, who as a high school student lost two friends to an impaired driver. For more information or to download free programs, visit www.nrsf.org or www.teenlane.org or Like us on Facebook.