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Taking the Top Prize

From Left: Ryan Mullane, Mullane's film partner Kassie Peña, Kaylin Connors and Edward Stanley. The students are the winners of a PSA contest hosted by the National Road Safety Foundation.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 9, 2019) – Three UAlbany students won the Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” Public Service Announcement contest, hosted by the National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) at three SUNY schools.

Students at UAlbany, University at Buffalo and Stony Brook University were invited to submit 25-second PSAs to raise awareness of the dangers of driving drowsy. Videos created by Ryan Mullane, Edward Stanley and Kaylin Connors were selected as the top entries and the students won $1,500, $750 and $500 respectively.

In its announcement, NRSF said “Drowsy and fatigued driving is a serious traffic safety issue that nationally results in more than 328,000 crashes annually, taking a toll of more than 6,400 lives and 109,000 injuries every year.”

Working with his film partner Kassie Peña, graduate business student Mullane submitted “Hand em’ over,” which “depicts an obviously exhausted young man (Mullane) yawning as he gets behind the wheel and starts the car.” The video then winds backward, and before he actually starts the car, his friend (Peña) stands by the window waiting for him to give her the keys so she can drive.

The students said they appreciated the opportunity to combine their passion for film with the greater good. “I was very excited to participate because of my love of film making, and I was also determined to use my skills to convey to the audience the importance of the topic,” said Stanley, a digital forensics major who pursues film as a hobby and used time-lapse to show how long and tiring a student’s day can be. “It is all too often that drowsy driving is ignored and all the attention is given to drunk driving. However, it has been proven through a plethora of field studies that the effect of drowsy driving can be just as, if not more deadly than drunk driving,” he continued.

All three videos will be unveiled nationally later this year on more than 160 TV stations nationwide.

The NRSF collaborated with the New York State Department of Health and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to sponsor the contest, which was a “natural fit” for UAlbany students, according to M. Dolores Cimini, the director of the Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research at UAlbany.

“We often find that the best vehicle to get important messages out to students is their peers, which is exactly what happened here,” Cimini said. “These students did an outstanding job transforming research about the dangers of drowsy driving into a visually appealing and educational tool that will be impactful to their fellow students.”

In the NRSF’s announcement, Director of Operations Michelle Anderson said “Everyone needs to be rested before they drive, but young people, especially college students, are at greater risk of driving while fatigued. Drowsy driving is not as widely discussed as impaired or distracted driving, which is why these videos are helpful to call attention to this serious issue that impacts us all.”

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