‘Heads Up, Phones Down’ Video Contest to be Held Feb. 1-22 for Montgomery County Teens to Promote Safer Driving and Walking 

by Patrick Herron
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For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 20, 2022

Montgomery County teens have an opportunity to win some great prizes by producing videos to encourage peers not to allow cell phones to distract them while driving and walking. The County Department of Transportation’s “Heads Up, Phones Down” high school video contest will be accepting entries of 30-second Public Service Announcements (PSAs) between Feb. 1 and Feb. 22.

Montgomery County public and private high school students can submit videos for the contest. Video entries can be submitted individually or as a group of up to four in English or Spanish.

“As a parent, grandparent and former teacher, I know that teenagers often pay more attention to their friends than the adults around them,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Adolescence is a time when peer messaging resonates. This peer-to-peer safety advocacy will help raise awareness of the need for everyone, drivers and walkers, to stay alert and not be distracted while traveling. This contest supports our County Vision Zero goals to eliminate distracted driving and increase pedestrian safety.”

Entries can be submitted for individuals or for groups of up to four.

There is one grand prize and a first and second runner up for both the individual and group submission categories. Winning group submissions will split the grand prize with gift cards for each member. Individual submissions may qualify for prizes including a PlayStation Five, an Apple Watch or tripod.

Students can submit their entries on the website’s entry form here. Students may also qualify for up to five Student Service Learning (SSL) hours for successfully completing an entry.

“Teens are using cell phones with increasing frequency,” said County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “In fact, 84 percent of teenagers in the U.S. have their own phone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that young drivers, ages 15-19, are the age group with the largest proportion of distracted drivers at the time of a fatal crash. Likewise, an NIH study found that when distracted by cell phone use, children were less attentive to traffic; left less safe time between their crossing and the next arriving vehicle; experienced more collisions and close calls with oncoming traffic; and waited longer before beginning to cross the street. We hope this contest helps serve as a reminder to avoid being distracted by cell phones.”

Winning entries will be announced live on Instagram at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 11, and will be posted on the MCDOT website here.

Visit the contest website for more information at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-PedSafety/HUPD/.

Send contest-related questions to pedestrian.safety@montgomerycountymd.gov.

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