Stop Speeding, Win the Lottery: One Man's Idea to Make Safe Driving Fun

California man wins international contest with idea to make roads safer.

ByABC News
December 8, 2010, 1:45 PM

Dec. 8, 2010— -- If speed limit signs aren't enough to slow down lead-footed drivers, what about the promise of cold, hard cash?

The motivation of a cash prize to the safest drivers is behind a California man's winning entry in The Fun Theory, an advertising contest sponsored by Volkswagen and advertising network DDB Worldwide Communications.

The idea? Put a speed monitor on a busy highway. But instead of simply ticketing the fastest drivers, the monitor would capture an image of the license plates of the drivers who obey the speed limit, then enter them into a lottery.

The winner of the lottery would get a cash prize, paid for with some of the money collected from drivers who were ticketed for going too fast.

"I thought, 'Is there anything you could do to slow people down and change their behavior through fun?'" said Kevin Richardson, the 40-something San Francisco man behind the winning Fun Theory idea.

Click here to watch Kevin Richardson's winning idea for The Fun Theory contest in action.

Richardson, a senior games producer for NickelodeonKids and Family Games, said he learned of the contest after Googling The Fun Theory when a video of one of its other contest entries made the rounds at his office.

He said he immediately thought of traffic safety, being the father of three girls and having witnessed two car accidents involving children on bicycles.

So he brainstormed and came up with a way to reward a driver's good behavior rather than sticking with the old system of only punishing the bad.

"You shouldn't be dumping heaps of negative attention on a few bad apples," he said, likening his thought process to good management at a corporation. "You acknowledge all the people that are doing well."

Jeff Swystun, chief communications officer for the New York City-based DDB, said Richardson "embodies what the Fun Theory was all about," calling him "clever" and "earnest."

Richardson's entry, he said, was simple, but it was bold and "has impact for basically every country."

"I think that was a benefit -- this was relatable everywhere," he said.

For winning the contest, Richardson was awarded 2,500 Euros, or about $3,300.