In 2018, Montana’s State Highway Traffic Safety Office (SHTSS) was awarded grants by both Ford Driving Skills for Life and The National Road Safety Foundation, Inc.'s partnerships with GHSA. With these funds, SHTSS launched a statewide contest between Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapters to create peer-to-peer teen safe driving campaigns, with an emphasis on drowsy driving.
The contest launched at Montana's FCCLA Leadership Summit, where chapters were able to learn more about the opportunity. Chapters then applied for seed grants to run their campaigns, and awarded chapters received between $300 and $750 to execute their proposals. Students worked on and implemented their campaigns throughout the following months, receiving advice and guidance from SHTSS staff as needed. Once activities were completed and a project report submitted, SHTSS and FCCLA staff analyzed the work and chose winners for both overall teen driver safety advocacy and drowsy driving-specific campaigns. Winning projects included:
Teen Safe Driving Awards
- First Place ($2,500): Three Forks High School created and displayed 17 life-size silhouettes and 184 ribbons to represent the number of teens killed and seriously injured, respectively, in Montana in 2017 (see photo above). The Three Forks FCCLA chapter also presented on the importance of safe driving to the student body, created bulletin boards placed throughout the school, passed out pins with safe driving messages, and included safe driving messages in the school's morning announcements.
- Second Place ($1,500): Beaverhead High School held a teen safe driving week, which included a presentation at an all-school assembly, a pledge campaign asking peers to commit to not driving drowsy (including prize drawings for students who signed), a Vision Zero Fair co-sponsored with local organizations and law enforcement, seat belt checks as students drove home, and promotion of the campaign at a school basketball game.
- Third Place ($1,000): Choteau High School conducted a "Ghost Out," in which the local sheriff pulled 18 students from their classes during a four-and-a-half hour period throughout the day, representing the average number of teen driver deaths that occur during that amount of time each day. The "victims" were asked to relinquish their cell phones, paint their faces white, and not interact with other students during the exercise. At the end of the day, the exercise was explained to all students during an assembly (see right).
Drowsy Driving Awards:
- First Place ($2,500): North Star High School conducted its campaign over a five week period, placing post cards highlighting different traffic safety facts on students' lockers. The chapter also presented at an all-school assembly focused on drowsy driving and hosted a resource fair in which students could attempt an obstacle course while wearing drowsy driving goggles. Students also created a commitment poster on which students could sign their name to pledge not to drive drowsy, which was placed at school basketball games (see right).
- Second Place ($1,500): Terry High School planned and hosted a traffic safety community carnival in collaboration with local groups and businesses that included fun, interactive activities reinforcing the importance of safe road user behaviors. The chapter also created a "Drive Awake" banner, which was hung on the town's Main Street. Students also developed a PSA that was aired on local TV and radio.
- Third Place ($1,000): Shepherd High School organized a month-long teen safe driving campaign focused on drowsy and distracted driving. Students conducted grade-level presentations for peers in grades 5-12, tailored to the age of the students. The chapter also created an informational newsletter on drowsy and distracted driving, the "Potty Press," that was posted in restrooms throughout the school.
- Honorable Mention ($500): Plentywood High School's student body participated in a Drowsy Driving Message Contest that was reviewed by the librarian, with the winning entries receiving Amazon gift cards. Students used the theme “You drive lousy when you’re drowsy” to promote their campaign. During a basketball game, safe driving messages were placed on water bottles and distributed to attendees, with more than 350 bottles sold.