Future LSU Student Gets Serious with Distracted Driving Video

May 17, 2015

While some 2015 Project Yellow Light scholarship winners used humor to warn viewers about distracted driving, Ryan Robert Reid tugged on heartstrings with a cautionary tale of a serious accident.

U-Haul International, Inc. and corporate partner Project Yellow Light recognized Reid’s “Don’t Be the Next Example” video as the third-place winner in the high school division for the annual Hunter Garner Scholarship. Reid gets a $1,000 scholarship for his efforts.

Reid, 18, intended his video, which focuses on the relationship between a father and son, to speak to young people as well as older generations.

U-Haul is now an official partner of Project Yellow Light in an effort to prevent distracted driving.“I looked at the examples of previous winners and I knew that I wanted to take it to a whole other step, a whole new level with my video,” Reid said.

Reid, a resident of Fairburn, Ga., begins his video by showing a son making a breakfast smoothie for his father, who is in a wheelchair. The father, whose disability was the implied result of a distracted driving accident, cautions his son about making the same mistake by pounding his fist on the kitchen table twice as the son walks out the door to drive to school.

“I wanted to convey the idea that the father wasn’t able to speak, and the fist pounds were the only way he got my attention,” Reid said.

Once the son gets in his car, he recalls his father’s insistent gesture and places his phone in the glove compartment.

Reid and his father, John, acted in the video while one of Reid’s high school friends did the camera work. The wheelchair was borrowed from a family member.

“Don’t Be the Next Example” and other 2015 Project Yellow Light winning videos are already proving to be a positive influence on young drivers. Reid said his video changed the way his friends drive.

“I group message my friends and ask them to put down the phone when they drive,” Reid said. “I tell them they don’t want to be that person you see on the news.”

Reid has taken his own message to heart and refrains from texting while driving.

“I keep my phone away from me in the farthest cup holder,” Reid said. “After I put in the (auxiliary) cable, I just let the music play. I don’t touch it or anything.”

Reid came across the Project Yellow Light video competition while searching for college scholarships online. This was the first video Reid shot and produced.

“I enjoyed the process and it made me think about this as a future hobby,” he said.

Reid’s future plans center on petroleum engineering and business. He just graduated from Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga., and will attend Louisiana State University. His $1,000 is going to be put toward tuition and housing.

Petroleum engineering deals with methods of extracting oil from land and ocean reserves. Reid’s grandfather, Joe Richardson, owned oil-rich land. Reid’s interest was heightened by his grandfather’s refusal to give drilling access on his land.

Reid, who lives between Southeastern Conference universities Georgia and Auburn, is coping with some friendly backlash for choosing to go to LSU.

“(My Auburn friends) say they are the real Tigers, ‘Go Tigers!’ and stuff like that,” Reid noted.

Reid said that he is likely to rent U-Haul equipment for his move to the LSU dormitories. There is no doubt that his drive to Baton Rouge will be distraction-free.

U-Haul, per its sponsorship, donated $16,000 to cover the scholarship prizes for the 2015 Project Yellow Light winners in the college and high school divisions.

First-place winners received $5,000 plus in-kind moving expenses from U-Haul. Second place received $2,000 and third place received $1,000.

What do you think of Reid’s video on distracted driving? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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