In Jacksonville, Florida, student injuries from texting while driving are on the rise. To counter this upward trend the Duvall County Sheriff’s Department, Duval County Public Schools and the Jacksonville-based nonprofit SELF (Service, Education, Leadership Foundation) are banding together to host the first Teen Safe Driving video contest.

The idea is to get students involved in the effort to get students to understand the risks involved with texting and driving and distracted driving in general. Since a great number of teens today watch and make their own videos for loading to YouTube and other online video sharing sites, officials hope students will get involved en masse, helping to spread the word about the dangers of texting while driving.

The contest asks teens to create a 30- to 60-second video on the dangers of distracted or impaired driving.They can employ any videography skills they already have, or feel free to learn new tricks to make their video even more slick and professional.

The video has to be submitted to SELF’s YouTube channel by midnight on March 17. A public vote will choose seven finalists between April 7-22, and a local panel of judges will select three more. The winner will finally be announced on May 23. Students may work alone or in teams. The winning student or team gets $1,500 in scholarships and a $1,000 grant for a student-focused improvement project at the public high school of their choice

The Florida students have an opportunity to win scholarship and more perhaps more importantly, save other students from injury or death as a result of distracted driving.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board distracted driving now surpasses drunk driving as the single most dangerous way to drive. Distracted driving is responsible for more fatal crashes than drunk driving; more injuries and more crashes in general.

When you consider that more students, teenagers specifically, use text messaging systems than any other group of people, it clear that they are most at risk for suffering injury or death in a crash as a result of distracted driving.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /