Laurens Central School wins big against distracted driving

By Kelly McCarthy

April 2, 2013 Updated Apr 3, 2013 at 3:28 PM EDT

Laurens, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A group of Otsego County high school students cashed in big for their school by winning a video contest about the dangers of distracted driving. Laurens Central School is the winner of the contest that stretched across the state.

It was only make-believe when two sisters, Lynzi and Lakin Poje, died in a car accident. But it didn't stop them from feeling the real impact of the dangers of distracted driving.

"It's kind of something that we instantly said yes to," said senior Lakin Poje. "It just happens all the time that we figured it'd be a really good thing to do."

The contest won their school $15,000. Laurens Central School placed first in a statewide video contest to raise awareness.

"Passing tough laws and increasing penalties for the violations of those laws, that's certainly important to do," said Sen. James Seward (R-51st). "But there's nothing more important than an educational initiative to help spread the word."

It was a group of 10 students who volunteered their time and came together at Laurens Central School. They had no budget for the project, and access to only one digital camera.

"We really liked it because it was different than the most, the normal videos of what you see of car crashes and what not," Poje said.

The 25-second video stayed away from gruesome photos of car crashes and police. Poje said it's what likely set their video apart from the rest.

"It can affect a lot of different people, just like community members, school members, family members and friends, so I mean it was good to get a different view on what could happen," said sophomore Lynzi Poje.

The PSA shows the future the sisters could have had if they didn't die in a car accident. It was the kind of creativity contest organizer NYCM Insurance hopes will save lives.

"It goes beyond just insurance," said NYCM Insurance President and CEO Dan Robinson. "You hate to see it in the newspaper, you hate to see friends you know losing their children. To us, it's just an important message all the way around."

The top 15 videos in the contest are eligible for a People's Choice Award.

The public can cast their votes through the company's website.