CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – Multimedia students at Trumbull Career and Technical Center (TCTC) started a campaign for safer driving. Now, they are being recognized for their hard work.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), there have been 130 distracted driving violations in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties this year. TCTC students wanted to help reduce this, so they made a campaign for Ohio’s “Just Drive” Contest. The contest was sponsored by NJM Insurance Group and hosted by the national nonprofit, Impact Teen Drivers.

This week, they were crowned first place winners for their efforts. The school will be awarded a $10,000 educational grant.

“I felt so confident in the work and the campaign that they put together that it was almost a relief to hear that we won,” said TCTC interactive multimedia instructor Kris Doran.

Students made 30-second PSA videos to promote safe driving. They also made a mascot named “JD” to represent their campaign, posted print infographics throughout the school and hosted an interactive “Just Drive” event.

Emma Ross was the project leader. She says more teenagers need to know about safe driving.

“I just want them to be more aware of what they’re doing. Even just looking at that message for two seconds, something can dramatically happen,” Ross said.

Students also submitted 30-second PSA videos for individual entry scholarships.

Lexis Bell won second place for the PSA “Drive Distractionless,” which used sketches to educate drivers about simple ways to create good habits and avoid distraction. Bell will be awarded a $2,500 scholarship.

OSHP’s Sergeant Ray Santiago says he loves seeing teens teaching other teens about safe driving.

“When it’s being delivered by their peers and they’re doing it in a manner that’s very sincere and energetic, and it’s reaching them in ways that they know will connect, it has more impact,” Santiago said.

Both Santiago and Ross say distracted driving goes beyond using phones behind the wheel.

“Anything in the car, you know, part of the Trumbull County campaign of those students, they were talking about not grooming while driving,” Santiago said.

“It was kind of to open their eyes a little bit and make them realize, hey, like, I actually am doing that in the car, which I shouldn’t be, and it’s distracting me from the road,” Ross said.

The campaign will now be handled by new senior students at TCTC next year.

Resources about distracted driving safety for teens can be found at TeachYourTeenToDrive.ohio.gov.

Web editor Chelsea Simeon contributed to this report.