<< Online Voting Has Begun for Best Auto Safety-Themed Video; 3 finalists Eligible for $5,000 Scholarship hail from B.C. >> MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 22 /CNW/ - The top 5 finalists have been chosen in the 2008 Safety Scholars Canada video contest, a national competition in which 16- to 21-year-old drivers create short auto safety-themed videos. The finalists were selected from entries submitted from Canadians coast-to-coast received by Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. and include entries from Surrey, Delta, and Nanaimo. A panel of judges selected the top 5 videos based on how well they compel young drivers to be more safety-conscious, including topics such as seat belt usage, tire safety and avoiding in-vehicle distractions; plus how effectively and creatively they communicate their safety message. A popular theme among submissions was the danger of text messaging while driving. The videos, which are less than one minute in length, are now posted at SafetyScholars.ca for online voting through September 28. The three students who receive the most on-line votes will be the grand prize winners. Outcome of the voting will be announced Oct. 8. In order to make the finalists' videos accessible to the widest possible audience of young drivers across the country, videos are also posted on YouTube and MySpace. The grand prize winners will be awarded a $5,000 college scholarship. Each of the 5 finalists will also receive a new set of Bridgestone or Firestone branded tires. "We were very happy to launch this program in Canada for the first time in 2008," said Christine Karbowiak, Vice President of Community and Corporate Relations, Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. "This is a competition driven by the teens themselves, and the contestants continue to amaze us with their originality. Their videos are not only informative, but fun to watch as well." << Safety Scholars Facts: - 2008 was the first year for the contest in Canada. - Last year, 8,000 people voted online for the 2007 contest winners in the United States. >> In addition to Safety Scholars, Bridgestone Firestone has invested in a myriad of innovative driving and tire safety education initiatives specifically targeted at young drivers. The Bridgestone brand serves as the presenting sponsor for the Driver's Edge national tour. Driver's Edge is a private non-profit organization that offers a unique hands-on driver training program that provides teens with life-saving driver safety skills. The program is offered free of charge to teens in selected cities each summer. To date, more than 50,000 students and parents have attended Driver's Edge sessions. The company has also aired a series of tire safety public service announcements featuring Mario Andretti, legendary racer and Firestone spokesman. The company has distributed more than 30,000 M.A.R.I.O's safety booklets to teens across North America. About Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc.: Mississauga-based Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. (BFCA) is an affiliate of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT). BFCA and Nashville, Tennessee-based BFNT are subsidiaries of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFCA and BFNT develop, manufacture and market Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. They are focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to their customers in Canada and the United States respectively. In addition, through Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, a division of BFNT, retreading customers have access to industry-leading research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales expertise, providing them with a total tire solution.