Houston student wins national award for billboard she designed to stop distracted driving

Houston-area college student Diana Gonzalez Mejia wins Project Yellow Light contest for billboard design.
Houston-area college student Diana Gonzalez Mejia wins Project Yellow Light contest for billboard design. (Project Yellow Light / Diana Gonzalez Mejia)

Houston – A Houston college student is being honored nationally with a scholarship for designing a billboard encouraging drivers to put away their phones while they’re on the road.

Diana Gonzales Mejia is one of the winners of a $5,000 Hunter Garner scholarship from Project Yellow Light.

Mejia designed a public service announcement, titled “Phone Rest,” which will receive national exposure through various channels. According to a news release, winning designs will appear on 1,800 TV stations, iHeartMedia radio stations, Clear Channel Outdoors’ nearly 2,000 digital displays, and will be showcased on June 28 on a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square.

The Project Yellow Light competition encourages applicants to create a public service announcement with a message to keep the roads safer by avoiding distracted driving and not sending a text or commenting on a photo while on the road.

Project Yellow Light’s beginnings were the outcome of a tragedy in the Garner family in 2007. Sixteen-year-old Hunter Garner’s life was cut short due to a distracted driving accident. Project Yellow Light was established to honor his memory.

In a news release from the Ad Council, Hunter’s mother Julie said “today we reach thousands of students each year in high schools and colleges across the country. Together we carry the important message to warn and protect our youth from the dangers of distracted driving. Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Hunter Garner scholarship and to all those who took part in this year’s contest.”

The contest received 2,069 submissions from students in all fifty states. In addition to Mejia, the following were awarded scholarships:

  • High school student, Morgan Taylor, from Scottsdale, Arizona, submitted “It’s Joust Not Worth It” video.
  • College student, Angie Benitez-Garcia, from Hollywood, Florida, submitted “No One’s Good at That” video.
  • High school student, Mia Allen, from St. Louis, Missouri, submitted billboard design “Leave Them Unread.”
  • High school student, Nathan Ong, from Annandale, Virginia, submitted a radio piece “Are You a Chameleon.”
  • College student, Katie Saylor, from Boonsboro, Maryland, submitted a radio piece “Just Don’t.”

You can see all of this year’s winners, HERE.

The Project Yellow Light Contest reopens for more submissions on October 31.