FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Fort Lauderdale area student was one of the top winners of a video competition to encourage safe driving. David Ramirez is hoping his video can help teen drivers get their eyes off their phones and focus on the road.

In the United States more than 37,000 people die in crashes each year. Nearly 8,000 of them are killed in accidents involving drivers ages 16-20. A big contributor to those crashes is a cell phone. In 2011, 23-percent of accidents involved cell phones.

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Fort Lauderdale Native David Ramirez is trying to change those statistics.

“Just put our phones down, it can definitely wait,” Ramirez told CBS4’s Vanessa Borge.

Watch Vanessa Borge’s Report

Ramirez entered the Bridgestone Teens Drive Smart Video Contest. David wrote, produced, and directed a short film encouraging young drivers to put down their phones when behind the wheel.

David’s video portrays all the things young drivers have ahead of them on the road of life; graduation, marriage and children.

The University of Central Florida student said he was inspired by the death of one of his brother’s classmates two years ago.

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“Such a young person with such a bright future ahead of him and all of this is gone just because he wasn’t smart and made the wrong decision.”

That decision was to text while driving. The final shot of David’s video is the focus of his message: “Focus on the road because there are many great things ahead.”

After weeks of voting, David won third place and took home $5,000 in scholarship money.

Click below  to watch the full video.

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