Students create, film, produce distracted driving PSA through Wisconsin DOTSubmitted: 07/31/2018
Lane Kimble
Lane Kimble
News Director

Students create, film, produce distracted driving PSA through Wisconsin DOT
WAUSAU - She needed a boost to see over the podium outside Wausau's State Patrol post on Tuesday morning, but Arianna Fuller expected her message to come across loud and clear: put the phone down.

"I mean, it's basic," the 13-year-old said.

The Department of Transportation's Inter-tribal Task Force chose Fuller's Indian Community School from the Milwaukee area to put together a public service announcement on a roadway safety issue. The students agreed on covering distracted driving, then brainstormed, wrote, and filmed the ad all in one busy school day.

"Well... It's a small sacrifice," Fuller said of missing recess the day of filming.

The DOT hired a small production company to offer guidance, but the students did everything except the final edits themselves. Tuesday, they shared their message in Wausau as part of a tour around the state.

"I said, 'That's ad's gotta go statewide.' This is an incredible message, incredibly well done," DOT Secretary Dave Ross said.

The DOT recruits students to make the PSA videos twice a year. DOT Tribal Liaison Ryan Greendeer calls this video one of the best yet.

"We really aspire to create some type of change in our community, in our own families," Greendeer said.

That's a change people in the area need to make. State figures over the last five years show more than 11,600 distracted driving crashes in the north-central region. Those crashes resulted in about 4,600 injuries and 62 deaths.

"It's constant," State Patrol Captain Adrian Logan said. "We not only see it while we're on duty, we see it while we're off duty."

Logan says distracted driving isn't quite to drunk driving's level for crashes, but it's getting close. He thinks a message made by students mainly for students will be effective.

"This gets a message out that we can't necessarily get out, because they'll have access to their friends," Logan said. "Their friends have access to their parents and their family members."

It's a message that can -- and should -- hit home for all generations, making sure everyone gets there safely.

"These guys really hit the jackpot with this," Greendeer said.

The ad will air across social media and every television market in the state through the end of summer. You can find a link to the full video here.

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