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Huntington teen wins AAA safe-driving video contest

Huntington High School senior Jack Glicker took on distracted driving in a video competition and his public service announcement won the grand prize for AAA's Northeast service area. Some of Glicker's friends acted in the video, with one of them ending up stuffed in the trunk for bothering Glick as he drives. (Credit: Huntington Public Schools)

Concerned about distracted driving? Get out the duct tape.

That is one of the comedic solutions a Huntington High School senior devised in his prizewinning video for an American Automobile Association contest.

The public service announcement, titled “Extremes,” depicts young drivers creatively fending off various distractions that could break their focus on driving safely. The competition, which was open to high school students in the AAA Northeast’s service area, asked contestants to create a video focusing on safe driving practices.

“A lot of PSAs in general are sad, overall, especially on this topic of distracted driving . . . and end with a classic car-crash noise,” said Jack Glicker, 17, of Huntington, who produced the video. “I wanted to make it more fun, something people would enjoy and have more of an impact.”

The more comedic approach won Glicker, who will attend the University of Delaware on a President’s Scholarship, the $750 grand prize in the Northeast traffic-safety contest, the AAA said.

Last year, Glicker placed second in the same contest with perhaps a more conventional approach; that video ended with a heartbeat monitor. This time, the video’s concept was about “going to extremes.”

“I was just thinking ‘What’s the most extreme way to get someone to basically quiet down when you’re in the car?’” he said.

Glicker was partly inspired by a conversation he had with a friend about a spectacular shot by Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. Cue the video’s duct tape scene, where the driver uses the cloth-backed silver tape to shut down a persistent passenger’s attempts to show him a smartphone video of James.

The actors in the video, all friends of Glicker, play their parts with gusto.

“It was a fun video to make,” he said, adding one friend volunteered right away for the final scene, though it is a bit drastic. In it, the driver ties up the passenger with duct tape and puts him in the car’s trunk.

The prizewinning video’s lighthearted plot doesn’t shirk the seriousness of its subject, however.

“Cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year,” the narrator notes toward the end, adding seat belts halve the risk of fatal injuries.

Glicker, who aims to become a graphic designer, plans to keep entering these kinds of contests.

“It’s something I love doing,” he said. “It adds competitiveness to it, but not enough where it’s not fun.”

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