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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce that the seventh annual statewide high school video contest, Safe Streets Smart Trips, will begin on Monday, September 28, 2020. The contest serves as an initiative within the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan to promote safe walking, bicycling, and driving behaviors within the Commonwealth. The contest, which began in 2014, encourages high school students to showcase their understanding of roadway safety across all travel modes to try to decrease pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities.

“We are pleased to provide high school students with the opportunity to participate in this valuable exercise to underscore the need to limit all distractions when driving and especially to put phones and mobile devices away,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Every year we have been impressed by some of the powerful educational videos produced by students and I am confident that this year, even as some students learn remotely, they will collaborate and submit entries which will underscore that driving hands-free is really a life or death issue.”

The video contest, which is open to all Massachusetts high school students, features a freshman/sophomore category and junior/senior category. Per contest guidelines, students are asked to write and produce a 30-60 second video that focuses on one or several of the guidelines of the “Hands-Free” law.

Complete contest guidelines were sent to high schools on September 23, 2020 and are also found at Mass.gov/roadway-safety-video. Students are required to strictly follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and health/safety precautions while making contest videos.  Grand prize and runner-up videos in each category will be chosen by a MassDOT panel. The winning videos will be screened during MassDOT’s annual active transportation conference, Moving Together, which is scheduled to take place virtually on November 17, 18 and 19. Top videos may also be used in future safety campaigns.

On February 23, 2020, the “Hands-Free” law was enacted throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (https://www.mass.gov/service-details/hands-free-law ). This law seeks to help reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving as a result of electronic device usage. Operators of motor vehicles are prohibited from using any electronic devices, including mobile telephones, unless the devices are set to hands-free mode. Drivers under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices and all phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.

To learn more about the Safe Streets Smart Trips high school video contest, visit Mass.gov/roadway-safety-video.

For more information about the virtual 2020 Moving Together healthy transportation conference, visit www.movingtogetherma.org.

For more information about the “Hands-Free” law, please visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/hands-free-law.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

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