Bridgestone Americas Announces Launch of Third Annual Safety Scholars Video Contest at Chicago Auto Show

Bridgestone Americas announced at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show that, as part of its ongoing commitment to automotive safety education and due to the incredible popularity and success of the program, it is launching its third annual Safety Scholars Video Contest.

Targeted to young drivers ages 16-21, Safety Scholars is a contest in which entrants create short auto safety-themed videos. This year, another topic – automotive environmentalism – has been made available to entrants, extending the message of the Bridgestone Group’s “One Team, One Planet” global environmental initiative.

Based on the success of past Safety Scholars contests, Bridgestone Americas is again looking to teens in the U.S. for their ideas and insights regarding behind-the wheel safety and environmentally conscious usage of vehicles.

The winners of the 2008 Safety Scholars contest were on hand at the Chicago Auto Show to present their videos to a group of automotive journalists and enthusiasts from around the country. Danny Belkin, Ryan Massey, Angela Roscioli and Sarah Wilson utilized first-person accounts, dramatic narratives and other creative formats to deliver powerful messages about auto safety. Each winner received a $5,000 college scholarship and a set of new tires; and several 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.

“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.”

2008 Safety Scholars Facts:
• 2.4 million hits on contest site, safetyscholars.com
• 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 safetyscholars.com.
• 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 safetyscholars.com in addition to YouTube, MySpace and Facebook on June 25. The general public will then select grand prize winners through online voting at safetyscholars.com.
• Official rules with complete entry, eligibility and prize details are available on safetyscholars.com.

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

In addition to Safety Scholars, Bridgestone Americas has invested in myriad innovative driving and tire safety education initiatives specifically targeted at young drivers. The Bridgestone brand serves as presenting national sponsor of Driver’s Edge, a hands-on safe driving course that’s offered free of charge to teens in select U.S. cities. Bridgestone Americas 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, encouraging the young drivers to learn their M.A.R.I.O’s (Mario Andretti’s Real Information on Safety). The company has distributed more than 40,000 M.A.R.I.O’s safety booklets to teens across the country.

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