Next week, a billboard designed by a Delaware Area Career Center student to curb distracted driving will be unveiled on West Central Avenue in Delaware.
It was announced last week that Abbie Halderman, 17, a Buckeye Valley senior studying Digital Design at the DACC, had won the second annual billboard design contest in honor of Teen Driver Safety Week. Area high school students were eligible for the contest, which was organized by the SAFE Delaware Coalition and sponsored by State Farm Insurance.
Halderman said her design, titled “Instalife,” was emotional for her to create.
“I have a personal connection to teen driving, because I lost three of my friends in a car crash … in sophomore year,” Halderman said. “We got the topic, distracted driving for teens, and from that I started to do some research into text messaging images. I found a perfect phone image and I used that on top of a road image, and since all the teens are on Instagram now, I put the Instagram feed onto the phone. For the slogan, I used something that has to do with Instagram. After all that, I drew all that and that’s how I got (‘Instalife’).”
Halderman said she was thrilled to win the competition, which came as a complete surprise to her.
“I was so happy,” she said. “(DACC Digital Design teacher Josh Gallagan) told me the week before that he was going to pull me from class but didn’t say the reason. He pulled me out of class and when we walked in there, I was confused. There were cops, and people, and my mom. I was like, “What did I do?” When they announced I’d won, I was so excited. My mouth dropped.”
Halderman was given a $500 Amazon gift card and a voucher to attend Better Ohio Teen Drivers, Inc.
After graduating, she’s planning on working as a portrait photographer. Halderman added she used the prize money to get started on her career.
“I’m going straight into the workforce,” she said. “I used that money to get equipment to start my photography business. I’m going to get a studio and start my business there.”
Halderman said the project was a great experience professionally and personally.
“It helped me get connected to the community, first off, and it helped me prepare for client projects,” Halderman said.
She added that the design skills she learned in class and the time management techniques she learned were essential for the project.
The billboard will be put up near the overpass on West Central Avenue next week during National Teen Driver Safety Week.
The Delaware General Health District reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens 15 to 18 years old in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, and violence. In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver (15-18 years old), of which 755 deaths were the teen driver — a 3% decrease from 2016. In fact, in 2017, there were an estimated 93,000 teen drivers injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and an estimated 293,000 people injured in crashes involving a teen driver, accounting for an estimated 11% of all those injured that year.
“The week is a perfect time for parents to begin — and continue — a conversation with young drivers about driving safety, and to remind parents not to hand over the car keys until their teen knows the rules of the road,” said SAFE Coordinator Jackie Bain during the event where Halderman was announced as the winner of the contest.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.