The VHSA PSA Video Contest Winners!

Here are the winning videos from the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance PSA Contest #802phonesdown!headsup!

Above: Isaak Olson,Essex High School, 3rd Place

Tanner Bischofberger & Kyle Monier, River Valley Technical Center, 2nd Place

Andrew Malshuk, Bellows Falls Union High School, 1st Place

Congrats to everyone!

Gov. Scott & Paul Burroughs

Turn Off Texting at the AGC Construction Career Day!

The Youth Safety Council was invited to share our Turn Off Texting presentation at the Associated General Contractors of Vermont 2018 Construction Career Day on May 16. We fit in among dozens of other demonstrations and workshops, and students got to try the golf cart and driving simulator versions of Turn Off Texting. Thank you, AGC for including us!

TOT in Thetford

The Turn Off Texting Simulator at Thetford Academy

The YSCVT sends special thanks out to our program supporters and sponsors for making this statewide safety experience available to Vermont’s youngest drivers!

Springfield TOT

Turn Off Texting in Springfield

Here’s a photo of Youth Safety Council Presenter Paul Burroughs (red jack, in front) with Springfield High School students and the Turn Off Texting mobile driving simulator. Young Southern Vermont drivers are learning how important it is to stay focused behind the wheel!

Rutland TOT Simulator Visit

The Turn Off Texting Driving Simulator in Rutland!

The Turn Off Texting mobile driving simulator visited Rutland where students and YSCVT Presenter Paul Burroughs got to hang out with our friend and regional safety advocate Lt. Kevin Geno, fourth from the right in the photo.

‘Hopes and Dreams’ from the Governor’s Highway Safety Program

The YSCVT sends thanks and congratulations to our friends and supporters at the Governor’s Highway Safety Program for the new powerful public service announcement, “Hopes and Dreams.” Here’s the press release…

For Immediate Release 04/27/2018

On behalf of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) in the Office of Highway Safety at the Vermont Agency of Transportation, we are pleased to release this ‘Hopes and Dreams’ School Bus Safety Public Service Announcement. We would like to thank the marketing firm HMC for the production of this public service announcement.  We would also like to thank the student actors and their parents from Barre, Northfield, Johnson and Stowe. In addition, we would like to acknowledge the Colchester Police Department/Chittenden SHARP for traffic control and support during filming and the school bus company Mountain Transit for donating the bus for filming. The GHSP is federally funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

TOT in Thetford

Turn Off Texting at Thetford Academy

Turn Off Texting presenter Paul Burroughs brought the driving simulator version of the program to Rich Kearney of Upper Valley Driving Academy and the students of Thetford Academy on March 27. Find Turn Off Texting all over Vermont this spring!

Don't Text & Drive!

Video Contest Aims to Change Distracted Driving Habits Among High School Students

March 15, 2018 / Montpelier, Vt. – In conjunction with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA) is excited to announce the #802phonesdown!headsup! video public service announcement contest. The contest is open to high school students and is designed to encourage young drivers, friends, and peers to avoid distracted driving. The first-place winner will be awarded $750; second place $500; and third place $250.

Every distracted driving death is preventable. Taking your eye off the road for even a few seconds is all it takes to change a life forever.  Still, people text and drive on Vermont roads every day. The goal for entrants is 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.

The contest is divided into two phases:

  • Phase One: March 9th to April 13th. Research and production of the video.  Up to eight (8) finalists will be selected from these entries.
  • Phase Two: April 20th to April 30th. Finalists will be asked to promote their video on social media outlets and submit their metrics. Winners will be judged on both the quality of the video and the number of people reached organically using social media.

The winning videos will be announced in late spring and distributed on social media sites by the VHSA and safety partners. Details of an award ceremony will be announced at a later date.

The contest is sponsored by: The VHSA, AAA of Northern New England, The Vermont Insurance Agents Association, The World, Consultant on Police Services, Vermont Automotive Distributors Association, Midstate Dodge, and the Central Vermont Rotary Club.

For more information, visit

Contact: Evelyn McFarlane,, (802) 595 4661

Txt U L8R

UVM Medical Center Presents TXT U L8R Event for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. To promote teen driver safety, UVM Medical Center is offering the TXT U L8R program to your students and their families. Everyone in encouraged to participate — even you!

Texting while driving has quickly become one of the greatest hazards on the road. It causes 1.6 million car crashes and 330,000 injuries per year, and approximately seven teen deaths every single day. That’s why the UVM Medical Center and the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at the UVM College of Medicine created “TXT U L8R” a unique program designed to discourage individuals from texting while driving. Key elements include a demonstration of an advanced driving simulator, presentation of a realistic trauma scenario, a testimonial from the victim of an accident caused by a teen driver who was texting, and a demonstration of several smartphone apps designed to prevent texting while driving. Funding is available to assist with transportation costs.

Wednesday, April 4th, 6-7:30PM at UVM Medical Center, UVM Medical Education Pavilion, Sullivan Classroom. Register (and find a map and directions) at: or call to register at 802-847-7222.

For more information about the event or funding for transportation costs, contact Chrissy Keating, Injury Prevention/Safe Kids VT Coordinator, (802) 847-2291.

Johnny Esau

Johnny Esau, 1950-2018

Johnny Esau brought charm and brightness to his work as a Turn Off Texting presenter and made hundreds of Vermont’s young drivers safer with his kind instruction. We are sad to report that he lost his battle with leukemia and passed on January 9.

Here is Johnny’s obituary, from the Brattleboro Reformer:

John D. Esau of Marlboro, VT and Lake Rescue, Ludlow, VT passed away on January 9, 2018 after a graceful, courageous battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Johnny was born on September 4, 1950 in New York, NY. He was raised in Port Washington, NY by his loving parents, John W. Esau and Norma Bonelli Esau. In the Fall of 1975 he married his best friend, Joanne Sehnal Esau and in February of 1983 his daughter Corey was born, fulfilling his life beyond measure.

Johnny graduated from Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington, NY and Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT where he was a member of the SMC Choir. Soon after he attended Keene State College to earn an Education Degree.

He entered the teaching profession at Wyndham Elementary School as a Teaching Principal. For much of his career he had the privilege and joy of teaching at the Marlboro Elementary School. He also taught at Reading Elementary and served as the Turn off Texting presenter for the Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Council. While at Marlboro Elementary he coordinated the building of the Johnny Esau Covered Bridge and co directed the annual school musicals. His classroom was know as a place filled with music, laughter, hammering and creative chaos.

He sang with the Blanche Moyse Chorale. Later his joyful voice joined the Brattleboro Music Center Chorus where he assumed the role of “chief mischief maker”. He was a member of the Marlboro Fire Department and sat on the board of directors of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. Johnny enjoyed laughing, being with friends, building, boating, beaches, metal detecting, his truck’s GARLIC license plate and Italian food. He spent hours working on his wooden boat “Knock On Wood”. He adored his Golden Retrievers but in the end it was his little dog Tucker who was his constant companion.

He was predeceased by his parents Norma and Jack Esau. Johnny is survived by: his wife of 42 years, Joanne Sehnal Esau; his daughter and son-in-law Corey and Julian Jaworski of Quechee, VT; his brother and sister-in-law Raymond and Kathy Sehnal of Pomfret, VT; sisters Cynthia (Anthony) Jerolino of Cavendish, VT and Lisabeth (Edward) Fisher of Malvern, PA as well as many cousins, nieces, nephews and a grand niece and nephew.

Johnny was exceptionally proud of his Italian heritage. He adored his grandparents, “Papa and Nannie” and held his Bonelli cousins close to his heart. He was also predeceased by his birth mother, Mary Massucci, who’s identity he discovered in the last year of his life. He was lovingly embraced by his newly found Masucci cousins and his niece, Denise Renda and her husband Denis of Northport, NY and Grafton VT.

In his struggle with Leukemia Johnny showed his family the depth of his love and taught us the way to live a life of gratitude. His family and friends returned his love, giving generously of their time and resources for which he was forever thankful. We are in awe of the spirit of the nursing and medical staff who cared for Johnny at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Grace Cottage Rehabilitation and most especially, Dr. Andrew Brunner and his Team at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In honor of Johnny we ask that you please give the gift of your time or your resources to a family that is caring for a loved one with Cancer.

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 11:00 AM, at St. Anthony’s Parish in White River Junction. A gathering of friends and family will take place immediately following at The Quechee Club, Quechee, VT.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Jan. 12, 2018