Hamburger sitting in road

Video PSA Contest Winners Announced!

In conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance hosted its fourth video public service announcement contest. The contest was open to high-school students and designed to encourage young drivers and their friends and peers to avoid distracted driving. The award ceremony was held on April 27th and included a special video message to the student contestants from VTrans Secretary Joe Flynn.

The goal for contestants was to research this important issue and produce a compelling 25-second video to enact change and spread the message to peers and the public that distracted driving is unacceptable and can have serious consequences. The VHSA hopes that videos produced by high-school students offer a relatable perspective for other young drivers. Finalists and winners were selected from the 52 entries submitted.

The Youth Safety Council of Vermont with support from Cooperative Insurance Companies of Vermont sponsored the People’s Choice Award. The YSCVT sends thanks to all the sponsors who supported the contest!

See a YouTube playlist of the winners’ videos!

1st Place — Sponsored by AT&T

Jack Mahar, Center for Technology Essex

2nd Place — Sponsored by AT&T

Andrew Martell, Stafford Technical Center

3rd Place — Vermont Insurance Agents Association

Sponsors Choice — Vermont Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association

Bradley Hunt & Charlie Clark, Brattleboro Union High School

4th Place – Sponsored by Yankee Driving School

Will Devereaux, Champlain Valley Union High School

5th Place & Sponsor’s Choice– Sponsored by AT&T

People’s Choice – Youth Safety Council of Vermont/Co-operative Insurance

Lexington Page, Essex High School

Sponsor’s Choice – Sponsored by AT&T

Daniel Airoldi, Essex High School

People’s Choice Award – Sponsored by Co-operative Insurance Companies and Youth Safety Council of Vermont

Devin Hogan, Southwest Tech

Honorable Mention – Sponsored by Midstate Dodge

Sam Umphlett & Asa Jelley, SouthWestTech, Bennington

Brayden Shelton, Rutland High School

Honorable Mention – Sponsored by AAA Northern New England

Asa Jelley & Sam Umphlett, SouthWestTech, Bennington

Cooper Niles & Aidan Forrest, Mt. Anthony Union High School

Secretary Flynn’s Video Message


April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on our roads. While drivers texting behind the wheel tops what seems like an endless list of distractions, other risky actions include talking — whether it be on the phone or to others in the car, setting your navigation, adjusting what you’re listening to, drinking coffee, applying makeup, and more. By driving distracted, you’re robbing yourself of seconds that you may need to avoid a close call or deadly crash.

In 2020, distracted driving killed 3,142 people. Young drivers seem more prone to using their phones while driving. According to NHTSA research from 2017, drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers have since 2007. But make no mistake: It isn’t just young people who are driving distracted, since drivers in other age groups don’t lag far behind.

April, which is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month, is a good time to regroup and take responsibility for the choices we make when we’re on the road. Follow these safety tips for a safe ride every time:

  • Need to send a text? Pull over and park your car in a safe location. Only then is it safe to send or read a text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not scroll through apps, including social media, while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming.
  • Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

A message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Turn Off Texting at Rutland High School

Students at Rutland High School took turns experiencing how dangerous distracted driving is, driving the Turn Off Texting mobile driving simulator April 6-8. Special thanks to Lt. Kevin Geno of the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department for the invitation!

Turn Off Texting at Bellows Falls Union High School

Turn Off Texting visited the students of Driver Educator John Tribuna at Bellows Falls Union High School on April 11 and 12 — and Principal John Broadley got the TOT experience!

Vote Now through April 17 for the People’s Choice Award in the #SafeDrivesSaveLivesVT High School PSA Contest!

Everybody go vote for your choice of winner in the People’s Choice category of the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance’s #SafeDrivesSaveLivesVT high school PSA video contest! Vote once each day for as many of the 18 finalist videos as you feel deserve to win at

A Sunny Day to Visit U32!

Wednesday, March 16 was a perfect day to visit U32 in East Montpelier! The Turn Off Texting simulator gave students a safe hands-on exposure to the dangers of distracted driving. Here’s a peek inside!

Turn Off Texting at Burr & Burton

The Turn Off Texting Mobile Classroom: On the Road with New Graphics!

The Turn Of Texting simulator is back in action! With a period of down-time while new graphics were added and the mobile classroom had mechanical work done, it’s now back on the road scheduling dates around the state.

YSCVT sends very special thanks to AT&T for making the new program graphics possible. As a long-time supporter, they’ve been a consistent friend to Vermont’s student drivers and a champion for safety in our state.

Student in the TOT Simulator

Vermont Highway Safety Alliance Announces #SafeDrivesSaveLivesVT Video Contest

In conjunction with April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA) announces its fourth annual video public service announcement contest. With a focus on distracted driving, the #SafeDrivesSaveLivesVT contest is open to high-school students and designed to encourage young drivers, their friends, and classmates to avoid distracted driving. Cash prizes will be awarded to the creators of the winning video PSAs.

This year’s contest expands the scope of distracted driving beyond just texting while driving. There are many causes of distraction such as using car features (music, climate, GPS), talking to passengers, eating and drinking, drowsiness, grooming, children and pets, smoking, emotions, daydreaming, and rubbernecking.

Every distracted driving death is preventable. A few seconds can change a life forever. The goal is for contest entrants to research this important issue and produce a compelling 25-second video that can enact change and spread the message that distracted driving is unacceptable. The VHSA hopes that videos produced by high-school students will offer a relatable perspective for other young drivers.

All students in grades 9-12 attending Vermont and cross-border high schools (public, private and homeschooled) are eligible to enter. Videos will be judged by a committee for top awards and by the public for a special People’s Choice Award.

Entries may be submitted until March 15. Contest winners will be chosen and notified by April 15. At that time, the date of the virtual award ceremony date will be announced.  The winning videos will be distributed on social media by the VHSA and its safety partners.

The contest is sponsored by the VHSA, AAA Northern New England, AT&T, Vermont Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, Yankee Driving School, and Youth Safety Council of Vermont.

For more information, visit

Photo by Jackson David from Pexels.

TOT in Randolph!

Turn Off Texting is back in action! The program is back at Vermont schools with the My Decision Driving advanced mobile driving simulator. Here a few photos from its visit to Randolph this week. Pictured: Student drivers; driving instructor Paul Parsons; and Deputy Sean McRae from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Cellphone blended artfully into road image

Turn Off Texting Program Now Scheduling

Turn Off Texting is a free, hands-on distracted driving safety demonstration that visits high schools across Vermont. We’re now scheduling presentations through September.

To Vermont’s Driver Educators:

The feeling of writing this note matches the spirit of this very sunny day — The Youth Safety Council’s Turn Off Texting presentations are available again to visit schools, and we are delighted to be back in service to Vermont’s youngest drivers!

The free program is now scheduling, ready to bring our mobile classroom and advanced driving simulator to your campus. Up to twelve students per hour can have a first-hand experience with the dangers of distracted driving in the safety of the simulator, and our presenter is able to stay through the school day to ensure all of your students have the opportunity to participate. To schedule a September TOT visit, please visit or email We’ll look forward to making it happen.

Visit for more information about this program, which is free to Vermont’s schools thanks to an educational grant from the Vermont State Highway Safety Office and sponsors like AT&T, the Vermont Insurance Agents Association, and the Vermont Association of Domestic Property & Casualty Insurance Companies. The simulator is made possible in collaboration with My Decision Driving.

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels.