IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Social media is more addicting than alcohol and cigarettes, according to Discovery News. AAA Foundation says it is this addiction, along with other non-cell phone related distractions, which drive up to 8,000 car accidents each and every day. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 5,474 people were killed in distracted driving related accidents in addition to 448,000 injuries attributed to the same cause. Julie Garner and her family know all too well about the dangers of distracted driving. It is for this reason that she and her family created Project Yellow Light. With Teen Safety Week being October 14-20, this is an ideal time to reach teenagers as they begin the school year.
Dedicated to the education of those most commonly affected, Project Yellow Light strives to show teens and young adults the importance of staying focused on the road ahead. Garner was directly affected by a distracted driving accident when her son, Hunter, was killed in a car accident in 2007. Since the accident, it has been her family's pledge to educate teens and young adults on the dangers of driving while distracted.
"The premise behind Project Yellow Light is to give teens a big voice in reducing the number of car crashes – because they have a unique voice and the ability to get through to their friends, their peers, in a way adults cannot," said Julie Garner, Project Yellow Light co-founder. "Teens will listen to their friends more readily than they will listen to an authoritative figure talking down to them."
Every year, Project Yellow Light challenges teens to create 60-second public service announcement videos surrounding the subject of distracted driving. This year, the topic is, "One Text or Call Could Wreck It All," as provided by distraction.gov. Previously, the scholarships have only been available to high-school students; however, the recent partnership with Mazda has allowed Project Yellow Light to expand their reach to include college students.
"The topic of distracted driving is so important to all of us. As parents, family and friends, it is important that we all look out for each other on the road," said John Doonan, director of Mazda Motorsports, Mazda North American Operations. "Through motorsports representation, we hope to reach a far greater audience and show the public the importance of on-road safety."
Mazda Motorsports has partnered with Project Yellow Light to help bring exposure to the challenge of distracted driving, because their young racers, such as Zach Veach, can have a great impact with teens because they are teens themselves. When Zach was just 15 he developed an Android phone app that automatically responds to text messages while the owner is driving. There are many other young drivers like Veach on the Mazda Road to Indy driver-development ladder who work hard to support the distracted driving campaign in order to greatly reduce the number of accidents and deaths each year.
About Project Yellow Light
Project Yellow Light/Hunter Garner Scholarship was conceived shortly after Hunter's death by his parents and sister, Julie, Lowell and Alexandra Garner. The scholarship started at Hunter's high school, Riverbend in Fredericksburg, VA. Within four years, the project gained national attention and now, due to its amazing partners and the support of Mazda, it is reaching thousands of students across the nation.
About Mazda Motorsports
Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America. Thousands of Mazda powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world's largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built. In 2006 Mazda established the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development Ladder to assist racers in moving up through the ranks. In 2010 this was expanded to include the Mazda Road to Indy. Key to Mazda's success is strategic partnerships with the Skip Barber Racing School and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Mazda Motorsports is managed by Mazda North American Operations (MNAO). MNAO is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States and Mexico through nearly 700 dealers. Operations in Mexico are managed by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
SOURCE Mazda Motorsports