NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee ranks as one of the top states for the number of deadly distracted driving accidents annually, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Here at News 2, we support a national student scholarship competition called Project Yellow Light.
The organization encourages people to stop texting and driving.

This year’s PYL scholarship winners were recognized for their creative entries that encourage drivers to put the phone down. The annual PSA competition is open to high school and college students. They create catchy video, radio, and billboard ads encouraging others not to text and drive.

The first-place winner received an $8,000 scholarship and all of the winning entries broadcast across the country, including live in Times Square in New York City. It’s a major accomplishment for even the most seasoned talent.

“Thank you for taking your time, and using your new expertise, to make this something that is going to save lives,” News 2 Anchor Alex Denis said.

The project was born from tragedy, created by the family of Hunter Garner.

“For me, it’s a passion project,” Hunter’s mother Julie Garner said. “It was created to honor my son Hunter who was killed in a car crash at the age of 16.”

Since 2008, the project has awarded tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money with a mission to bring about change and save lives.

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“This message is especially important for younger drivers as teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be distracted at the time of a fatal crash,” Garner explained.

Let’s all do our part to end distracting driving and congratulations to this year’s winners!

  • It’s Joust Not Worth It (video, high school): Morgan Taylor (Scottsdale, AZ)
  • No One’s Good at That (video, college): Angie Benitez-Garcia (Hollywood, FL)
  • Leave Them Unread (billboard design, high school): Mia Allen (St. Louis, MO)
  • Phone Rest (billboard design, college): Diana Gonzalez Mejia (Houston, TX)
  • Are You a Chameleon (radio, high school): Nathan Ong (Annandale, VA)
  • Just Don’t (radio, college): Katie Saylor (Boonsboro, MD)

To learn more about Project Yellow Light, click here.