I'm on the road for client The National Road Safety Foundation, for our third year of a partnership with the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens Dec. 1
We run a contest designed to engage young people on southern California in messaging about the dangers of distracted driving, which is responsible for more than 3,000 traffic fatalities every year. Teens are invited to submit their ideas for a 30-second public service message about distracted driving. The winner gets a $2,000 prize and works with Emmy Award-winning producer Alan Weiss to make the winner's concept into a finished TV spot that debuts at the auto show in L.A. and then airs on more than 150 TV stations nationally.
This year's winner is 18-year-old Franklin Reitzas, from Bell Canyon just over the L.A. line in Ventura County. Franklin has a better picture than most of us about what distracted driving can do. While in high school, he was in the Explorers program run by the county sheriff's department and he got to go on ride-alongs with police officers. He says he's seen too many crashes that were caused by distraction or driver inattention, which is why he decided to enter the contest.
I'll be off to Washington D.C. in January, Chicago in February and Atlanta in March for similar regional contests in conjunction with the big auto shows in those cities. We look forward to seeing many more great public service message ideas from young people in those areas.