Bridgestone Americas Announces Grand Prize Winners in the Teens Drive Smart Video Contest


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NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 7, 2014 -- For three students, paying for college just got a little easier thanks to their winning video submissions in Bridgestone Americas' Teens Drive Smart Video Contest.

Austin Piedra of Chicopee, Massachusetts, received the top prize – a $20,000 college scholarship, for his winning video, "Break Bad Habits. Drive Safe." University of Pennsylvania freshman Barry Oshiba won second place and a $10,000 scholarship for his video, "The Risk You Choose," and David Ramirez took the third spot and a $5,000 scholarship for his video, "Great Things Ahead." Colby Cook of Orem, Utah, was given a Critics' Choice award and a $2,500 cash prize for the video he produced, "Words Unspoken."

This year's top ten videos were chosen based on how well they encourage teens and young adults to be more safety-conscious and how creatively the message is communicated. A record number of online votes helped determine the top three videos; Bridgestone judges then ranked the winners. The three winning videos, along with the other top 10 finalists, can all be viewed at Teen Drive Smart.

"We had a record number of votes for this year's top videos, which means each of our finalists played an important part in bringing distracted driving issues to the forefront in their communities and across the country," said Leslie Wilhite, Communications Manager, Teens Drive Smart. "The winning videos all have strong messages and creative storylines that speak to the goal of Bridgestone's Teens Drive Smart program: to equip young drivers with knowledge and skills to make smarter decisions behind the wheel. We hope that these videos will challenge teens and young adults to consider the impact of their decisions every time they get behind the wheel."

In addition to receiving a college scholarship and a free set of Bridgestone or Firestone tires, each Teens Drive Smart contest winner has the chance to have his or her video broadcast as a public service announcement (PSA) on television stations across the United States.

About the winners:

First Place: Austin Piedra is a rising freshman at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, where he is working toward a bachelor's degree in film. In his video, "Break Bad Habits. Drive Safe," a child is portrayed driving a toy car recklessly through suburban streets. The distracted driving child was only pretending, but the child's older brother realizes that his actions behind the wheel not only put himself in danger, but also effect the ones he loves. In the end, both siblings choose the safer route. He was inspired to create this video while watching his younger siblings pretending to drive. It's all fun and games, but some of the learned habits could pose a threat in the real world. He believes it's never too late to break bad habits.

Second place: Barry Oshiba is an incoming freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is planning to pursue a dual degree in cinema studies and marketing. His video, "The Risk Your Choose," was influenced by the idea that you have to take risks to achieve your dreams and be successful. He quickly realized the importance of deciding which risks are worth taking and his video addresses this issue.

Third Place: David Ramirez is a rising freshman at The University of Central Florida where he plans to major in film. His video, "Great Things Ahead," is about the great things young drivers have ahead in their lives. In the video, the road is portrayed as life and the milestones throughout it, like graduating, getting married and having children. He was inspired by all the things that driving distracted could prevent someone from experiencing, along with the death of one of his brother's classmates two years ago.

Critic's Choice: Colby Cook is a sophomore at Utah Valley University, where he is studying aviation with an emphasis in professional piloting. "Words Unspoken" teaches young people that distracted driving doesn't make you cool. The message of the video is that it doesn't matter what friends or parents do behind the wheel, it's your responsibility to keep yourself and others safe while driving.

The Video Contest is part of the Teens Drive Smart Program, which also includes the Driving Experience. The Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience is a free half-day clinic that equips teens with knowledge and skills to make better decisions behind the wheel. The program features a hands-on safe driving introduction for teens in a controlled environment. At the Driving Experience, teens are introduced to various driving maneuvers, shown the effects of distracted driving and taught ways to help keep their vehicle running at peak performance. There are six stops remaining on the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience tour. Young drivers can sign up to participate in the Teens Drive Smart Driving Experience at Teen Drive Smart .

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