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September 11, 2009

Winners Selected in Bridgestone Safety Scholars Teen Driver Video Contest

Taking their cue from an eclectic range of inspirations, including rap videos, emotional personal stories and important topical issues, students from across the country grabbed their video cameras and got behind the lens to produce creative and compelling messages to hopefully save lives.

Now, three of these talented teenagers have been awarded college scholarships for their efforts.

Bridgestone Americas has announced the Grand Prize winners of its third annual Safety Scholars video contest,  a national competition that is part of the company's overall youth auto safety education efforts.  In the competition, Safety Scholars entrants between 16 and 21 years old created short videos about auto safety and, new for this year, how to be more environmentally conscious when using a vehicle.

A team of judges narrowed down the more than 800 videos to select the top 10 finalists for online judging. More than 12,000 votes on were tallied to determine the three Grand Prize winners, whose videos can be seen on the Web site.

"For the past three years,  Safety Scholars has proven to be one of the most effective ways for us to communicate our automotive safety message to teens," said Christine Karbowiak, Executive Vice President, Community and Corporate Relations, Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

"These videos are so impactful.  Last year's Safety Scholars' videos were used as public service announcements, airing more than 9,000 times and reaching more than 53 million people.  This year we hope to reach even more viewers with the ultimate goal of making the roads safer for everyone."

About the winners:
Christopher Baugh
, an 18-year-old from of Glen Allen, Virginia, created a humorous piece reminiscent of a typical hip-hop music video. Instead of boasting about flashy rims, hydraulics and nice cars, however, the rapper focuses on safety tips such as buckling seat belts and reading road signs.  Baugh is an incoming freshman at Syracuse University.

Eric Dachman, an 18-year-old freshman at Arizona State, warns of texting while driving.  His video shows the windshield of a moving car, and as the driver sends more and more texts, it becomes covered with them, impairing his driving ability.  The video ends with the simple message:  "Use a designated texter."

Juliana Hinojosa, is a 19-year-old sophomore at Texas State University. Her emotional video is inspired by her 22-year-old brother Ryan, who was killed in an auto accident at the hands of a drunk driver.  The video depicts various family members and friends who were impacted by Ryan's death.  Hinojosa summarizes her message to other drivers with, "Don't drive never know who you'll wind up hurting." 

Each of these three Grand Prize winners receives a $5,000 college scholarship and a set of Bridgestone- or Firestone-brand tires.  Additionally, the teens' videos may be used on television stations nationwide as part of a public service announcement campaign.  These public service announcements are supported by Bridgestone Americas in cooperation with Driver's Edge, a national non-profit organization which provides free classroom and behind-the-wheel defensive driving instruction for teens in cities across the United States.

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