Newspaper Contest Aims to Prevent Texting and Driving Among Teens

To help spread the word about the dangers of texting while driving, the South Carolina Press Association and its newspaper members are sponsoring a statewide essay and video contest for high school students.

The South Carolina Press Association is challenging high school students around the state to help spread the word about the dangers of texting while driving as part of AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign.

Beginning this past Monday, SCPA launched a statewide contest asking students to submit essays, editorials, columns, or videos describing the dangers associated with driving and texting and encouraging peers to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text and drive.

“When AT&T approached us, we were really startled by the statistics,” said Jen Madden, SCPA assistant director. “There are more than 100,000 car crashes a year that involve driving and texting.”

Texting while driving is associated with the highest risk of all types of distracted driving. A driver is 23 times more likely to crash when texting behind the wheel, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

“We knew our members would want to participate,” Madden said of the 109 newspapers SCPA represents. So far about 45 have signed on to promote and judge the contest.

Local winners will eventually make their way to SCPA, which will choose two finalists in the written and video categories, with the essay winner receiving a $500 prize and the winning video contestant receiving a $250 prize.

“Hopefully by getting members of their community excited, our newspapers are doing their part,” Madden said. “This is just one of many examples of why newspapers are important in small towns and communities.”

Other sponsors of the It Can Wait campaign include CTIA: The Wireless Association, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association.

“We wanted to work with AT&T to sponsor this contest and get students, parents, and school s involved to make them aware that this is a real issue and to help spread the message,” Madden said.

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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