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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Teens show safe driving through videos.

Alpharetta High School seniors AJ Pekarek (left) and Andrew Jeschke’s video on safe driving won first place at the “Road to Safety” video contest

by Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

November 19, 2010

Milton- Teenage drivers are more likely than older drivers to get into accidents while driving. Much of this is due to lack of experience behind the wheel, but there are also the problems of technology, texting and even basic dangers of the road. To combat the dangers, safe-driving practices must be learned, but often, that message doesn't get through to young drivers. That's where the "Road to Safety" comes in.

The contest was created to harness the creativity of high schoolers and couple it with an important message that can apply to all teen drivers.

"Too many kids are dying on the roads," said Tim Enloe, one of the creators of the contest. "That's been a big concern for me. What's the value of one life? It's pretty big."

Four videos were submitted from Alpharetta High School and Milton High School. The four were completely different in style and substance, yet all dealt with safe driving or the dangers of driving. They were judged on creativity, originality and their message.

John Morrison and his friends made a slapstick video about "Safety Sam," who explained proper driving techniques.

"Georgia law is 'click it or ticket', but it should be 'click it OR DIE'," explained Safety Sam in an overly dramatic voice.

One team, the Talon Report Group, of Milton High School, created a music video about safe driving, with the help of Milton police.

"Think before you drive. Is it really worth a life?" rapped the music, as the driver in the video was arrested for dangerous driving.

Alex Araya and Nathan Dwarika of Alpharetta High School created an action-packed video similar to any number of war-themed video games, complete with bullets whizzing through the air and special effects like glass breaking or muzzle blasts from rifles. They told the story of a young man at home when terrorists break in. He fights them off and, when he tries to flee in a car, the action pauses to go through the steps of safe driving, as bullets smack into the windows.

"It's sort of like a video that's meant to be seen amongst my peers also," explained Araya. "So we tied in action with road safety."

The winning video of the contest belonged to Andrew Jeschke, AJ Pekarek and Aly Masterson. Their entry reflected the somber emotions that a fatal accident can create. Black-and-white scenes of family members at a graveyard and mementos of loved ones won them the prize for best video.

"We wanted to create a video showing the more serious side of the dangers of driving," said Jeschke. "It can not only affect the person driving, but also their loved ones."

Lisa Cauley, operator of Protectmilton.com and one of the creators of the contest, was impressed with the students' submissions.

"They completely exceeded any expectation we had," Cauley said. "The kids completely blew us away."

Milton Council member Joe Longoria agreed.

"Some of the guys putting these videos together spent 40-50 hours on them, and included editing and special effects," Longoria said. "I'm really impressed with the work they were able to turn out."

Fulton County School Board member Katie Reeves commended Enloe and Cauley for their "Road to Safety" contest.

"Instead of just worrying about teens, they're trying to do something positive," Reeves said, adding that she wants to see the contest expanded to all high schools north of the Chattahoochee River next year.

Alpharetta police officer Daniel Lambert, who often deals with DUI arrests, was pleased by the contest.

"I have to deal with kids every day, because they're driving too fast and not wearing their seat belts," he said. "It seems to get worse and worse. So any program like this to help out is a great thing."

The winning team will be honored by both Milton and Alpharetta city councils Dec. 6, and their video will be placed on the Web sites Accessmilton.com, AccessAlpharetta.com and Protectmilton.com. Numerous businesses in the area have donated prizes for all the contestants.

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