Traffic safety groups task teens with radio ad production


The advent of cell phones, and even more, the advent of texting on cell phones, has led to a dramatic increase in traffic accidents traced to distracted drivers. And young drivers tend to be ground zero when it comes to this. That’s why we think the contest asking teens to come up with a radio PSA on the topic, sponsored by the The National Road Safety Foundation and the American Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association, is an excellent idea.

The prize would be attractive to anybody – we’re not talking a set of pencils embossed with the contest organizations’ names or some safety motto. In this case, the winning entrant will win $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to a National Student Safety Program in Wisconsin later in July. Three runners-up will receive $500.

This will not be an empty exercise in audio spot production, either. The winning spot will be distributed on a national basis, both over the air and online.

“Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death among U.S. teens, with 5,000 young people killed annually and thousands more injured,” said Michelle Anderson of The National Road Safety Foundation. “The U.S. Secretary of Transportation has called distracted driving a national epidemic, and this contest will encourage young people to communicate important messages about the issue to peers in their own voice.”
“As today’s technology enables young people to be constantly connected with friends, distracted driving is a major problem that is growing in scope exponentially,” said Jan Meeker, of the Hawaii Dept. of Education and NSSP Liaison to ADTSEA. “A quarter of all teens admit to texting behind the wheel and the highest proportion of distracted drivers in fatal crashes was under the age of 20.”

RBR-TVBR observation: We often hear consultants and other observers gnashing their teeth about the poor quality of today’s radio ads. So why not try to groom new talent wherever there are radio stations – perhaps your station should be running similar contests among local youth on a regular basis, for both PSAs and actual standard product or service ads?

We think there would be a lot of kids willing to participate – and we also think that your loyal audience might actually get a kick out of their efforts. We’d certainly look forward to the local kid commercial of the day feature on our favorite station.

And who knows – you may be developing a new talent base that will help make radio an ongoing success well into the 21st Century.