CEDARVILLE — A Cedarville High School freshman’s winning billboard design is currently on display in spots around the county for Teen Driver Safety Week.
Caleb McKinion created the design in Jarod Rogers’ technology communications class to enter in the State Farm Billboard Contest. The contest gave students the opportunity to educate their peers on driver safety and raise awareness of the consequences of risky driving behaviors, like distracted driving.
McKinion’s black and white sign reads “IS IT WORTH IT?” in letters pieced together with shards of glass. A shattered cell phone centers the background with #JUSTDRIVE in bold letters underneath.
The freshman said he used Photoshop tools to create the graphic design.
“I was surprised,” McKinion said, about earning the first place prize.
Even though he isn’t a teen driver yet, he said he wanted to show how important it is to drive without distractions.
Rogers, who teaches two technology communications classes, said McKinion’s design not only met all the necessary design elements but also achieved the message.
“I loved his design,” Rogers said. “He did a good job. I’m really proud of him.”
Lt. Matt Schmenk of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Xenia Post agreed that McKinion’s simple design helps spread the right message — teens, and all drivers, must pay attention to the roadways.
“Programs like this are exciting for kids and the community,” he said. “It’s a great way to get kids involved and promote awareness. Ohio State Highway Patrol supports that.”
According to Greene County Public Health (GCPH), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, ahead of all types of injury, disease or violence. GCPH officials report that in 2015, 1,972 drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 were involved in fatal traffic crashes, resulting in 2,207 deaths nationwide, of which 1,730 were teens. An estimated 99,000 teen drivers of passenger vehicles were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.
“There’s a lot of distracted driving going on … It’s public awareness that is going to curb it. That’s a big part of keeping kids safe,” Rick Kolmin, State Farm Insurance Agent in Xenia, said.
Safe Communities Coordinator Jillian Drew presented McKinion with a $500 check and Rogers with a $250 check for his classroom Oct. 17 in the high school’s library. Drew said she will invite all Greene County high schools again to participate in the next contest in the fall.
The three winning billboard designs from Cedarville, Bellbrook and Greeneview high schools are displayed this week on the Wright State University Nutter Center’s digital billboard along with various Lamar Advertising billboards around the county.