Emmy-Winning Director Comes to Her School to Help Make 30-Second PSA That Will Air Nationwide

NEW YORK — A student at Redding Christian High School has won the statewide Drive Safe L.A. Challenge. In addition to a $2,000 scholarship, Jasmine Coxey, 17, of Palo Cedro, will work with an Emmy Award-winning director and crew coming in from New York on Tuesday (Nov. 12) to film her idea and make it into a 30-second public service announcement that will be broadcast on more than 160 TV stations nationwide.

Coxey’s idea was chosen from several dozen entries by teens from throughout California.

The Drive Safe L.A. Challenge is sponsored by The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes safe driving behavior through videos and other material it distributes free to schools, police, young people and parents nationwide. It is promoted by the Los Angeles Auto Show, where Coxey’s finished PSA will be shown later this month before it airs nationwide.

Coxey’s winning concept, titled “Dangers of Drugged Driving,” opens to show a teen drinking cough syrup and then getting into the driver’s seat. He turns to the camera and says, “It was just cold medicine. I was fine…until I wasn’t,” as words come on the screen – “Almost half of drivers in fatal crashes tested positive for drugs.”

The next scene shows a teen shaking pills from a bottle into her hand, as she says, “It was my own prescription. I was fine… until I wasn’t.” Words on the screen remind us, “Some prescription medicines can make you drowsy and dizzy.” The final scene shows young people at a party, as one says, “All of us were vaping. I was fine… until I wasn’t.” Words on-screen say “Marijuana can affect reaction time and judgment,” as we see the teen on a gurney being put into an ambulance.

The runner-up in the Drive Safe L.A. Challenge is Alexander Chirskiy, 17, a student at McClellan High School in Antelope, CA. He wins a $1,000 scholarship.

“Educating people to the dangers of drugged driving cannot be emphasized enough,” said Michelle Anderson of The National Road Safety Foundation. “People need to understand that drugs of all kinds, including legal drugs like painkillers and allergy medicines can cause driver impairment that can lead to tragedy. Jasmine’s script gets that important message across.”

Drugged driving has outpaced drunk driving as a cause of fatal crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). A 2016 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 10.7 million Americans drove under the influence of marijuana, including nearly 1 in 10 drivers aged 16 to 20. A 2018 study of young adults aged 18-25 seeking emergency room care reported that nearly one quarter — 24% — drove impaired by drugs in the past year, with 96% reporting driving after marijuana use. Another GHSA 2018 report showed 43.6% of drivers in fatal crashes with known drug test results were drug-positive.

The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that for more than 55 years has been dedicated to reducing crashes, deaths and injuries on our nation’s highways by promoting safe driving habits through greater public awareness.

NRSF programs deal with distracted driving, speed and aggression, impaired driving, drowsy driving, driver proficiency and pedestrian safety. The Foundation also works with key youth advocacy groups and sponsors contests to engage teens in promoting safe driving to their peers and in their communities. For more information or to download free programs, visit www.nrsf.org or www.teenlane.org.

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