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February 17, 2009

Bridgestone Saves Teen Lives with Safety Scholars Video Contest

Safety-Scholars-safety-is-first Each year at the Chicago Auto Show, Bridgestone brings out the winners of its annual Safety Scholars Video contest, to introduce them and share the stories of the safety videos each student has produced. This popular teen safety program is an integral part of Bridgestone's driver safety education initiatives in which the company empowers young drivers aged 16-21 to create short auto-safety-themed videos using their own ideas and insights regarding behind-the-wheel safety and environmentally conscious usage of vehicles. The top winners earn a $5,000 college scholarship and receive a set of new tires (Bridgestone, of course!).

Danny-Belkin Ryan-Massey The winners of the 2008 Safety Scholars contest -- Danny Belkin, Ryan Massey, Angela Roscioli, and Sarah Wilson -- utilized first-person accounts, dramatic narratives, and other creative formats in their videos to deliver powerful messages about auto safety. Several of this year's Safety Scholars videos are now being aired (in a partnership with the Bridgestone brand-sponsored Driver's Edge teen driving program) as public service announcements on television stations across the United States. How cool is that? Perhaps you've even seen a few of them yourself?

Angela-Roscioli Sarah-Wilson We met these four Teens at a media dinner kicking off this week's Chicago Auto Show. At the same time Bridgestone announced that the upcoming 2009 contest will include an additional environmental component, extending the message of the Bridgestone Group's "One Team, One Planet" global environmental initiative. It was very enlightening to learn from each student what moved them to invest many hours of hard work into creating their messages: For one young man, it was surviving a car accident on Prom night in which two of his friends died. For another student, it was watching the aftermath of an accident in front of her house. The first-place-winning student for the 2008 campaign, Sarah Wilson, had also won an award in the 2007 Safety Scholars contest!

"Car crashes claim the lives of more 16- to 21-year-olds than any other cause, so safety education is a priority for us," said Christine Karbowiak, Vice President of Community and Corporate Relations, Bridgestone Americas, Inc. "Environmental responsibility is equally important to the company, which led us to include that topic in this year's contest. Safety Scholars is an innovative and engaging platform that allows us to communicate our commitment to both issues. We're proud Safety Scholars is a contest for teens, by teens, and we can't wait to see this year's creative entries."

Think-Before-You-Drive Bridgestone also used the show to unveil a new Web site under which all of Bridgestone Americas' consumer road safety programs are unified under a single banner -- Think Before You Drive -- a driver education initiative of the global Bridgestone Group.

While the new Web site is designed to educate all passenger vehicle drivers, it has a special focus on younger drivers, incorporating all of Bridgestone Americas' consumer safety and education programs under one comprehensive umbrella to further reinforce the importance of smart driving. Attendees to the Chicago Auto Show between now and February 22 will receive window clings that provide safe driving tips and will also have an opportunity to "test drive" the new site at the Bridgestone display at McCormick Place for a chance to win a $100 gas card, $20 iTunes gift card, or tire safety kit. In addition, anyone can follow "Think Before You Drive" on Twitter ( for real-time Twitter updates.

2008 Safety Scholars Facts:

  • 2.4 million hits on contest site,
  • 103,220 video viewings on YouTube
  • 10,362 online votes tallied
  • 620 videos entered

2009 Contest Details:

  • Videos must be 25 or 55 seconds in length.
  • The first 300 entries will be accepted May 27 - June 17 at
  • A panel of judges will select 10 finalists based on the following criteria: how well the video compels viewers to be more safety- or eco-conscious when using their vehicles, and how well the video effectively and creatively communicates its message.
  • The 10 finalist videos will be posted on in addition to YouTubeMySpace,  and Facebook  on June 25. The general public will then select grand-prize winners through online voting at
  • Official rules with complete entry, eligibility, and prize details are available on

The Results:

  • Votes will be tallied and grand prize-winning videos will be announced on July 23 at In order to make videos easily accessible to young drivers across the country, the winning entries will also be posted on and other Web sites.

Bridgestone-small-Logo In addition to Safety Scholars, Bridgestone Americas invests in a variety of driving and tire safety education initiatives specifically targeted at young drivers, such as Driver's Edge,  a hands-on safe driving course that's offered free of charge to teens in select U.S. Bridgestone has also aired a series of tire safety public service announcements featuring Mario Andretti, legendary racer and Firestone spokesman. Andretti has also toured the country talking to students about auto and tire safety, and distributing safety booklets to teens across the country.

Jody-devere_president_askpatty Jody DeVere
President and CEO


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