NORFOLK, VA —October 4, 2023: Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, The Car Crash Experts, has awarded $6,000 in scholarships to three Hampton Roads students who offered solutions to combat distracted driving on Virginia roads.
The recent high school graduates submitted outstanding essays and creative presentations to win a 2023 Focused Driver Scholarship from the personal injury law firm.
Distracted driving caused 95 deaths in Virginia in 2022, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Although the figure was an 18.8% decrease over 2021, the number of people injured due to distracted driving was a staggering 10,676. The top three distracted driving categories listed in the Commonwealth’s Virginia Traffic Crash Facts report were eyes not on the road, looking at roadside incidents, and cell phone usage.
Hayley Cherry, a recent graduate of Deep Creek High School’s Science and Medicine Academy in Chesapeake, was one of the $2,000 scholarship winners. To pursue her passion for environmental conservation, Hayley will be attending Appalachian State University this fall to study sustainable development.
In her essay, Hayley outlined some actions that are not always top of mind when people think about distracted driving. “What many teens don’t know is that distracted driving includes, and is not limited to, changing music, eating, adjusting a mirror, applying makeup, or even checking the GPS,” she acknowledged in her essay.
In addition to her essay, Hayley also submitted an impactful video illustrating some do’s and don’ts of distracted driving, including a potential serious consequence when drivers don’t pay attention on the road.
Savanna Stone, who attended Granby High School in Norfolk, highlighted the power of technology like “Do Not Disturb” mode on smartphones as a practical way to combat distracted driving.
“While Apple can provide us with silenced notifications and Teslas can drive themselves, the driver will always hold the power on the road. Every driver has a responsibility to themselves and every other car on the road to keep their phone down, their eyes up, and their hands on the wheel,” she added in her essay.
Savanna will be attending Tidewater Community College for a semester this fall before transferring to William and Mary next spring.
Ella Sturgis, a graduate of Menchville High School in Newport News, received the third $2,000 scholarship from Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. “When someone gets in a car, they need to understand the dangers of distracted driving and the need for the driver to have complete focus,” she explains in her essay.
“Parents should set criteria on the number of passengers allowed in the car. Most importantly, the dangers of distracted driving should be thoroughly understood by teen drivers,” Ella continues.
Ella will be attending Christopher Newport University this fall and plans to major in political science. She aspires to serve her community as a lawyer.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers launched its Distracted Driving Awareness scholarship (now the Focused Driving Scholarship Program) in 2017. It was intended to raise awareness of an issue that claims young lives every year in Virginia and leaves many more teens with serious injuries. Every year the law firm supports young people in the Hampton Roads area through its Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Cares initiative.
About Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers helps those who have been injured in car, truck, and motorcycle accidents across Virginia. The personal injury firm also represents family members of wrongful death victims. For more information, call 757-333-3333 or visit www.cooperhurley.com.