HARTFORD -- They are high school students driving home their message with plenty of creativity.
For the eighth year in a row, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles honored the top high schools and their teen teams who took part in the Teen Safe Driving Video Contest. Students craft 25-second public safety announcements in accordance with this year's theme: "When shifting into drive, keep the safety of others in mind."
Ernie Bertothy, a spokeman for the DMW said, "The whole idea behind the theme is selfless driving which really means to be aware of who is around you." Berthothy noted that 89 videos were submitted this year from high school students across the state. "The whole point of this contest is to empower young people," he said.
Three students from Weston High School were awarded the top prize for best video, and with it a $5,000 prize for their school from Travelers. The Weston High PSA focused on how many people can be hurt by distracted driving.
"One second away from looking at the road can change someone's life," said Cameron Okoro, a Weston High junior.
The team from Hall High in West Hartford produced a spot that underscored the dangers of texting and driving, and was awarded second place.
Hall senior Jake Gershon said the fact that the video messages come from students can make a big impact. "I think just coming from another teen makes that message more powerful than it already is."
Awards were given out by Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and doctors at Saint Francis Hospital.
In addition to Weston and Hall high schools, the other schools who made the top five were Daniel Hand High in Madison, which had two entries finishing in third and fourth place, and Arts at the Capitol Theater in Willamantic. To see the winning video contest entries, click here.