At Tetzel Law, we experience firsthand the damage that distracted driving car accidents can inflict on both the victims and their families. To help combat and bring awareness to this issue, we created the “Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship.”
Students were asked to submit an essay in response to the topic, “Distracted Driving Accidents – How Can We Prevent Them?” As part of their submission, students proposed new laws or other preventative measures to help decrease distracted driving. The response was overwhelming, with many great ideas on how to reduce distracted driving accidents and improve safety for all drivers.
After careful review, we are proud to announce the winner of the Tetzel Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship is Andre Parsons from the University of Wyoming. Congratulations, Andre!
This essay was prepared or accomplished by Andre Parsons in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Tetzel Law, LLC.
Distracted driving is a serious and growing issue in the United States and it is crucial that all Americans increase their awareness of and commitment to reducing its devastating effects. It is most important that younger people consider these issues and commit to driving safely. According to the U.S. department of transportation, driver distraction played a part in over 3,000 deaths and more than 400,000 accidents in 2014. Distraction is a factor in ten percent of all fatal traffic accidents and nearly double that number of accidents overall. Considering the well-known affinity of teenagers and young adults for technology like cell phones, it comes as no surprise that younger drivers are more likely to engage in distracting tasks while behind the wheel (p. 1). In order to lower the deadly impact of this behavior, states need to foster better education that gets through to the hearts of drivers. Ultimately, drivers have their freedom to choose their actions; through effective education, those drivers can become committed to choosing more wisely whenever they drive.
An effective solution for this problem is legislature which makes focused, ethical driving a part of typical high school and middle school curricula. Focusing on this age group will be beneficial because they are new drivers who are building driving habits and because they generally have more years of driving ahead of them than older people. An occasional assembly, often skipped or ignored by students, will not do. States need to create laws that get students involved in a personal way with the issue. It may begin with regular, brief conversations about the reality of distracted driving; school administrators, teachers, local law enforcement, and community members personally affected by accidents may engage students in a small group setting to impress upon them the seriousness and the young drivers’ real ability to increase safety. These instructors should encourage students to ponder their own lives, both how easily they could make a difference and how they would feel if someone they knew became a victim of this issue.
When students have had a chance to talk and think about it, they should teach others about what they have learned. High school students may prepare posters or other media to place in middle schools and participate in discussions with middle school students to help them start thinking about the issue and what they can do. At the same time, older students will cement what they have learned and resolve to live what they are sharing. These educational measures will douse the plague of distracted driving in the most effective way; individuals will commit from a young age to make safer choices behind the wheel.
National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2016, April). Distracted driving 2014 (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 260). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.