Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Names National Winner of Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship
Innovative ideas to tackle the scourge of texting at the wheel earned a California-based student a $2,000 scholarship in Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ national Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship contest.
Alex Chau recently graduated from Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, California. He is due to attend San Diego State University where he will study engineering.
Every year, Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers gives four scholarships to students from the Hampton Roads area and a national scholarship to an entrant from anywhere in the United States in our Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarships.
The local winners in 2020 were Mitch Corp of Virginia Beach, a Landstown High School graduate who is due to attend Regent University; Marguerite Jenson from the Science and Medicine Academy at Deep Creek High School, who is bound for Old Dominion University; Ronnie Anderson of Chesapeake, an Indian River Road High School graduate attending Virginia State University, and Michael Russo of Virginia Beach who will be attending James Madison University. Russo graduated from Cape Henry Collegiate in Virginia Beach.
Entrants are asked to write an essay about the dangers of distracted driving and to advocate solutions to an issue that causes a disproportionate number of teen deaths and injuries. Young people are particularly susceptible to using mobile devices at the wheel, although distracted driving takes many forms.
Distracted driving was linked to 23,246 crashes in Virginia in 2018. Additionally, these accidents caused 113 deaths and 13,258 injuries that year – about one in five of all traffic injuries on the highways of Virginia.
In his essay, Alex pointed out distracted driving is an issue everyone should be concerned about. “Electronic devices impair a driver’s attention, leading them to miss objects, other drivers, or lose control of the vehicle. Distracted driving is consequential because it endangers everyone on the road. Partaking in this action is to be complicit in criminal negligence at best and vehicular manslaughter at worst,” he wrote.
Alex claimed many of the measures adopted by state legislatures to crack down on the use of electronic devices at the wheel have failed. He supports incentives to encourage drivers to be more responsible.
“Punishments necessitate enforcement to be viable; thus, authorities must spend resources on more law enforcement agencies. However, incentives such as programs that give out tax breaks, or subsidies would be much more effective,” Alex wrote.
“Efforts to reduce crashes and injuries must target the root of the problem rather than the symptoms. Reducing distractions in the car would bolster the foundational driving skills of their constituents.”
Alex supported the use of public-private partnerships to tackle the issue of distracted driving. “Government agencies could set up an application to download on mobile devices. By abiding by the terms and services, users would be voluntarily relinquishing privacy rights to participate. There wouldn’t be expensive lawsuits filed against the states regarding privacy,” Alex wrote.
He also called for car manufacturers to do their part to design out distracted driving. “Car manufacturers could produce systems disabling those capabilities when cars go above a certain speed,” Alex wrote. “The installation could be initially voluntary, as it can be synced with the incentive program to award points. However, if proven effective, lawmakers could mandate all manufacturers to install such systems. People can redeem the points for rewards at local businesses, or perhaps a tax credit which fazes out progressively.”
Congratulations to Our Scholarship Winner
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers set up a national distracted driving awareness scholarship in 2019 to complement the local competition that started the previous year. We are always looking to reinforce the distracted driving message as well as help young people.
We congratulate Alex Chau and wish him well with his studies. We hope all of our awards to students will help them during a difficult year. We hope their essays will persuade young people to put their phones away while they are driving. If you or a family member has been hurt in an accident involving a distracted driver please call our Virginia-based car accident lawyers.