GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) — Johnson Hansen wants his classmates to know what it feels like to drive blind. He says that’s what it’s like when you text and drive.
The Garner High School senior illustrated the idea perfectly in this public service announcement.
He’s the regional winner of the Toyota and Discovery Education Teen Drive 365 Video Challenge.
“Distracted driving is something that happens a lot and for some reason we still don’t get it,” said Hansen. “I was trying to figure out how to show if you are texting and driving you can’t see the road.”
A crackdown on teen drivers by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol over a week’s time in April resulted in over 1,700 violations in school zones in Wake County. Troopers said it’s hard to pinpoint just how many were distracted teen drivers.
Hansen said distracted driving happens every day in his school’s parking lot.
“In this parking lot, at that stop sign, I was rear-ended by someone talking on their phone,” said Hansen.
Nationally, distracted driving is the leading cause of serious accidents among teens. The Centers for Disease Control reports car crashes claim six teen lives a day in the United States.
Hansen hopes his PSA will change that.
“It’s easy to solve,” said Hansen. “All you have to do is put your phone away and hopefully no one will die today.”
Over 1,000 videos were submitted by students nationwide and judged on how creatively they show a solution to distracted driving.
Hansen will split the $1,000 prize with his two classmates in the video. He hopes to major in film when he attends Brigham Young University.