Students, Get Creative: Design An Icon Against Distracted Driving

April 17, 2012

If you are a student between the ages of 13 and 18, an avid follower of social networks, and feel you have a flair for design, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood invites you to take up the DOT’s Distracted Driving Design Challenge.

Of course, you should know that you’re advocating an anti-distracted driving message. But you get the chance to design an icon that you’d be proud to share on your favorite social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, along with your family and friends.

Plus, your winning design will be featured on and its social networking sites as part of the DOT’s official distracted driving campaign.

Texting while driving

Texting while driving

Enlarge Photo

Why is the DOT doing this?

In a release announcing the challenge, Secretary LaHood shared the results of the DOT’s first nationally representative telephone survey on distracted driving that showed that young drivers aged 18 to 20 had the highest phone involvement in crashes or near crashes. These young drivers were nearly three times as likely to have been reading or sending a text or email when they were involved in a crash incident as compared to drivers age 25 or older.

The survey also revealed that drivers under the age of 25 were two to three times more likely to be distracted by texting or emailing while driving.

“We’re encouraging young people across America to commit to distraction-free driving, spread the word to their family and friends, and speak up if the driver in their car is distracted,” said Secretary LaHood.

The full survey analysis, “Young Drivers Report the Highest Level of Phone Involvement in Crash or Near-Crash Incidences,” is available at (click on the link at the bottom of the page).  

Details of the challenge

Entering the Distracted Driving Design Challenge is easy. Go to or for the full details. When you’re ready, enter the challenge on

Here’s a brief summary of what’s involved.

The design challenge is open from April 16 through July 31, 2012. The winning entry will be selected by Secretary LaHood and a panel of DOT experts during the judging period of August 1-31 and announced September 4, 2012.

Judging criteria covers message, design and creativity and the winning entry:

  • Must clearly convey an anti-distracted driving message
  • Must have a compelling and eye-catching design
  • Must illustrate a unique and creative idea

Submissions must be 180 pixels by 180 pixels and in JPEG, TIF, PNG or GIF format.

Got ideas? Get busy.

There’s no time like right now to help spread the word that cell phones and texting and driving don’t mix. Use your mad skills to come up with a wildly creative, unique and compelling icon design.

Involve your parents and your friends in the challenge. They’re great sources for ideas as well as excellent motivators.

Want to see your design in lights – well, highlighted prominently as detailed above? Get busy and good luck.


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