Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Teens Win Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship
Congratulations to four students from Hampton Roads whose hard work and dedication to finding solutions to the distracted driving problem earned them $2,000 each in Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ annual Distracted Driving Awareness scholarship.
The winners of the 2020 Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship are Mitch Corp of Virginia Beach, a Landstown High School graduate heading to Regent University; Marguerite Jenson from the Science and Medicine Academy at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, who will study at Old Dominion University; Ronnie Anderson of Chesapeake, an Indian River Road High School graduate attending Virginia State University, and Michael Russo of Virginia Beach. He graduated from Cape Henry Collegiate in Virginia Beach and will be attending James Madison University.
Solutions Provided by Scholarship Winners
The entries contained many real-life experiences and ideas to combat distracted driving among fellow teen drivers.
Mitch Corp sent us a PowerPoint presentation about a smart “Life Brick” that could safeguard young drivers. The device could plug into the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port of a car that pairs with the driver’s phone. If the driver decides to use the phone while driving, the device would alert the teen’s parents.
The device would have a built-in GPS tracking system to help parents to find their teenager’s location. The OBD port controls the car and it will not operate unless it gets notified that the cell phone is docked to prevent distracted driving.
Michael Russo also described how technology could help tackle the problem of distracted driving. He submitted a video presentation and wrote about how making more people aware of features such as the Do Not Disturb function on mobile devices would reduce the temptation for drivers to check their phones fro behind the wheel.
Marguerite Jenson described how a distracted driving accident affected her physical and mental wellbeing in her essay. She was driving when she was distracted by a cyclist approaching in the wrong direction. She rear-ended a car in front of her. Fortunately, nobody was injured in the accident.
“This incident was the final straw for my mental health, and I finally reentered therapy,” she wrote. “After only two sessions, my therapist concluded that I have Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, which is often undiagnosed in women such as myself. This revelation was shocking, as it had never occurred to me that I may have that condition, but after a while, it started to make sense. The reason my mind didn’t snap back to the road as I was driving was that it couldn’t; it wasn’t wired that way. That got me thinking — could other drivers also have some sort of mental disorder that prevents them from driving to the best of their ability?”
Ronnie Anderson warned using mobile devices behind the wheel is a particularly pernicious problem for the younger generation. “This issue is very important to me because it affects my generation primarily,” he wrote.
He warned young people are addicted to mobile devices. “Everyone seems to have an iPhone or a laptop or these days, even young children. These advances have become so deeply rooted in our society one cannot seem to go a single day without their phone or laptop or other device.” Ronnie wrote.
According to the AAA Foundation, newly licensed teen drivers are more likely to be involved in distracted driving crashes than older drivers. A report by AAA points out teen crash rates are about four times higher than those of adult drivers. Traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for this age group.
“Teenage drivers are believed to be at risk for distracted driving-related crashes, as they are avid users of cell phones and other technologies, are inexperienced drivers, and are still undergoing development in areas of the brain responsible for decision-making and risk management,” the report stated. AAA researchers carried out a study on 50 families in North Carolina with a novice teen driver. The study revealed the use of electronic devices is the most common distracted driving behavior and was found in 7% of the 7,858 video clips studies by the research team.
Learn More About Our Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers’ Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship attracts scores of entries every year. We hand out $8,000 in total to four young people to help them with their studies. It also plays a part in raising awareness of the high cost of distracted driving to young people. From the beginning of next year, it will be unlawful to hold a hand-held device at the wheel when you are driving in Virginia. Your life and wellbeing are more important than answering that call or responding to that text. If you or a family member has been hurt by a distracted driver, please call us.