Montgomery Co. high schoolers raise awareness about distracted driving in video contest

The Department of Transportation for Montgomery County, Maryland, has announced the winners of its annual distracted driving video contest for local students. The theme of the contest was “Heads Up, Phones Down.”

Local high schoolers made short PSA-style films to warn about the risks of distracted driving and other distracted behaviors, like texting while driving or walking in the street.

The students’ message to their friends is clear: Put those phones down.

The winner of the contest was Thomas Phillips, a student at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, with his video “Don’t Tempt Yourself.”

MCDOT’s director Chris Conklin says the county was thrilled to receive 185 submissions from young filmmakers in the county, showing that kids are taking an active role in caring about traffic safety.

It’s something MCDOT says is a critical issue, with 11 teens killed every day from texting and driving nationwide, not to mention countless avoidable accidents caused. It’s something they warn could get worse with the rapid evolution of technology continuing to lure teens in.

For individual entries, the grand prize was an Apple MacBook Air laptop. The first runner-up got an Apple Watch, and the second runner-up got a tripod for a mobile phone. Group prizes for teams of four includes Visa gift cards of up to $800.

First runner-up winner was Danny Lemus-Luna of John F. Kennedy High School with his video “Keep All Eyes on the Road.”

The first place winning group video was by Anna Li and Isabel Wu of Poolesville High School with their video, “Trapped.”

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Matt Kaufax

A Northern Virginia native who grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, Matt is thrilled to be back home in the D.C. metro area covering news for a station he grew up listening to. Keeping the community he calls home informed about the day's events is something he considers an honor and privilege.

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