PHS Students Recognized for Safe Driving PSA
September 25, 2019
A public service announcement created by a group of students at Pflugerville High School has officially been recognized by the State of Texas. On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation honored the students before a Driver Training and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee meeting.
The students from PHS won a district-wide PSA contest last spring to promote awareness of distracted driving. Their video “If You Can’t Text And Walk, Why Text And Drive” won the “My Road My Future” PSA video competition held by the district in partnership with Travis County ESD No. 2 and PfISD Police Department.
The team of students recognized by TDLR were Jacob Claxton, Michael Hornsby, Mac Bain, Lily Bitner, Alex Vo and Ava Carrasco, and the TDLR presented each of them with a certificate of merit after their PSA was shown during the committee meeting. Then committee members had a chance to express their gratitude and tell the students how they have inspired change.
Brian Francis, executive director of TDLR had high praise for the students, saying their video will save lives on Texas roads by creating more awareness about what to avoid doing when your cell phone rings, beeps or buzzes while driving.
“When it goes off, we feel like we have to do something, we have to answer. And what you put on the screen, it’s going to save lives,” Francis said. “Every two hours and 25 minutes someone dies on a Texas road. Every one minute and seven seconds, there is a crash on a Texas road. You just did something to break that. You did something to change that cycle.”
The students’ video featured two students walking down the hall at school while texting and looking down at their phones. Messages flashed across the screen asking where the students were. As the students turn a corner, they crash into each other – with sound effects of screeching tires and crashing metal – before their belongings are scattered on the floor.
Francis told the students he had a 15-year-old daughter who is currently learning how to drive and he plans to show her the video “96 times in a row” to drive the point home of how important it is to avoid driving distracted.
PHS junior Alex Vo said he learned the value of teamwork while creating the video and that he never dreamed their video would be able to influence as many people as it did.
“I think the biggest thing is that I’m really happy that our message was able to be put out there,” Vo said. “I never expected it to have this type of reach. I just thought it was some school project that we were going to do. It’s really cool to see that it does have a significant impact on a lot of people’s lives, and that’s going to help people be safe on the roads.”
The students learned about the contest and worked on the video during Mr. David Robb’s audio and visual productions class. As their teacher overseeing the project, Robb was blown away by what the students were able to produce and continues to be overwhelmed by the recognition they are receiving.
“This is one of those examples of the sort of project that we strive to do in the classroom. By that I mean, we’re trying to create things that can be seen outside of the classroom environment and simulate real world environments and situations,” Robb said. “And for these students to produce a video that has already been seen by thousands of people and has a message that truly can save lives and change dangerous behaviors on the roads, as a teacher that makes me incredibly proud.”
This spring marked the second year of the My Road My Future partnership with Travis Co. ESD No. 2 and the first year to include a video contest. The winning video received more than 2,800 views on YouTube during the contest and now has a total of more than 3,400.
2019 My Road My Future PSA Contest Winner
Pflugerville HS: “If You Can’t Text and Walk, Why Text and Drive?”
Lily Bitner, Mac Bain, Ava Carrasco, Jacob Claxton, Michael Hornsby and Alex Vo
Facts & Figures
· Travis County, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported a 12% increase in deadly crashes in Travis County from 2016 to 2017.
· AAA reports distraction was a factor in 3 out of 5 moderate-to-severe teenage crashes in 2015.
· The population group most likely to text and drive is young adults (up to age 34), according to the Pew Research Center.
· According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,450 deaths as a result of distracted driving in 2016.
· NHTSA estimates 9 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries every day from distracted driving.