Imagine if cars could talk. A new smart car boasts of its features in front of an older, more humble vehicle. The smart car moves quickly, has the latest technology and can even drive itself, all features that the older model missed.

As they talk, a tow truck walks past a similar new car. This was damaged in an accident. As a mother and daughter get into the old car, she says to her boastful companion, “I may not be a smart car, but I have a smart driver.”

This was the scene of Middletown High School freshman Kaylee Franklin’s presentation to the National Road Safety Foundation – a nonprofit that promotes safe driving – for its Public Service Announcement contest. Drive Safe DC. Participants were tasked with creating an ad to warn of speeding tickets, which are a factor in 26% of fatal crashes across the country, killing around 9,000 people a year, according to the foundation.

Franklin’s first-place bid, according to spokesman David Reich, beat dozens of teenage contenders in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area.

For his efforts, Franklin will be able to turn his idea into a true PSA, with the help of Emmy Award-winning producer and director Alan Weiss. She also won a $ 2,000 scholarship to university.

At 14, Franklin is not yet driving. But when she does, she suspects other drivers will be the scariest thing on the road.

“You can only control what you do in the car,” she said, not the actions of others.

In the age of smart cars, Franklin wanted to convey in his PSA that even the newest or fanciest vehicle can’t stop a driver from crashing if they don’t take action to drive safely. security.

“Kaylee’s post will help people think about their behavior when driving,” Michelle Anderson of the National Road Safety Foundation said in a statement.

“This shows that while today’s cars have many features to help us stay safe, the ultimate safety feature is a safe driver,” added John O’Donnell, President and CEO of Washington Auto Show.

The National Road Safety Foundation runs four regional competitions across the country, according to Reich, in conjunction with auto shows. This is the fourth year of the competition.

Franklin’s 30-second PSA will air on 160 television channels and will be featured on “Teen Kids News,” a nationally aired television show.

The PSA is still in production. Franklin virtually meets Weiss to get the job done.

Franklin’s words of wisdom? “Don’t make silly mistakes that are avoidable down the road.”

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller


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