Auto Club Announces Winners of Traffic Safety Mural Contest

(LOS ANGELES, May 20, 2009) – An outdoor mural that features a stick figure driving a red sports car one-handed and texting ‘LOL”, while another stick figure reading a text steps into a crosswalk and into the path of the same distracted driver, is the winner of the 2009 LAPD and Auto Club Traffic Safety Mural Competition.

The mural theme “Want to Survive? Don’t Text ‘n Drive” is bold, artistic and immediately conveys the dangers of texting,” according Rick Lalor, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Motor Sports Programs.

Students at Bret Harte Middle School in Los Angeles will be honored with first place for their artistic efforts in the annual mural competition sponsored by the LAPD and Auto Club. They won $1,000 for raising traffic safety awareness among pre-teens. Their instructor is LeX Chmiel and Vanessa Gutierrez is co-coordinator. Principal Lester Davidson said 13 students created the mural. Otis School of Art and Design’s Jennifer Krospt judged the murals.

“The Bret Harte Middle School students captured the risks for those who text and drive and also the risk for those affected by distracted drivers,” said LAPD Officer Joseph Taylor. “The mural conveys how widespread distraction has become on our roadways and serves as a warning to their fellow students.”

LAPD West Traffic Division Officers and the Auto Club will present a check, plaque and certificates to the winning students at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the middle school at 9301 S. Hoover St., Los Angeles 90044.

The competition, open to Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) middle schools, required art students to design and paint a wall-size outdoor mural depicting traffic safety awareness affecting their classmates and school neighborhood.

The $500 second place winner was Paul Revere Middle School for its “Please, Slow Down!” mural and third place with $300 went to Bancroft Middle School for its “Use Your Head; Wear a Helmet!” skateboarder mural. An honorable mention went to Thomas Starr Middle School for “Distraction Can Lead to Disaster.”