Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: April 12, 2018
Contacts: Alenaa Yarmosky, | Department of Motor Vehicles Contact: Brandy Brubaker,

Governor Northam Recognizes Finalists in DMV’s License Plate Contest

Blacksburg Student Announced as Grand-Prize Winner

RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and members of the General Assembly celebrated the eight finalists in DMV’s Take Action Against Distraction License Plate Design Contest on Thursday, April 12 at the Capitol in Richmond.

Governor Northam announced Kaya Windpainter as the winner of the license plate design contest. Kaya received a $1,000 prize, courtesy of AAA. Her design concept will be available on license plates this summer.

“Too many preventable injuries and fatalities result from distracted driving,” said Governor Northam. “Kaya’s design concept brings awareness to the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of staying focused on the road ahead.”

“Kaya’s license plate is playing a key role in raising awareness about distracted driving and saving lives,” said Shannon Valentine, Secretary of Transportation. “Her message will make drivers think twice before taking their eyes off the road.”

A student at Blacksburg High School, Kaya’s “Eyes on the Road” license plate design concept competed against seven other designs from students across the Commonwealth. Governor Northam made the announcement during a recognition ceremony at the Virginia State Capitol where all eight finalists were honored. The slogans from the eight finalists’ (listed below) license plate designs will be displayed on Virginia Department of Transportation digital message boards on Virginia’s major roadways.

“Throughout this contest, our goal was to start a conversation about distracted driving,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “With nearly 200 contest entries and more than 17,000 votes, our expectations were exceeded. Seeing Kaya’s design on license plates and the anti-distracted driving messages on digital message boards across the Commonwealth will ensure the conversation continues.”

“Driving safely requires your full attention. Kaya’s license plate design, and the designs of the other contestants, is a good reminder of that,” said Martha Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA is proud to partner with DMV for this effort to bring distracted driving issues to the forefront.”

For more information on the Take Action Against Distraction License Plate Design Contest, visit

Take Action Against Distraction License Plate Contest Finalists

Bristol District

 Lydia Sluss

Virginia High School

Fairfax North District

Stephanie Schmidt

Briar Woods High School

Fairfax South District

Matthew Houser

North Stafford High School

Hampton District

Abigail Polansky

Jamestown High School

Portsmouth District

Mason Dodzik

Cape Henry Collegiate School

Richmond District

Nick Short

L.C. Bird High School and Chesterfield Career and Technical Center

Roanoke District

Kaya Windpainter

Blacksburg High School

Staunton District

Destinee Glover

Nelson County High School


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