The law firm of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., is pleased to announce the presentation of $3,000 in scholarship money to three Alabama high school seniors who wrote about the dangers of distracted driving.
Participants in the law firm’s inaugural Drivers Safety Scholarship Fund essay contest were asked to write at least 1,000 words on the topic of preventing texting while driving.
First Prize, $1,800
Jacee Benefield is a senior at Arab High School in Arab. She is currently the Alabama Vice President of Community Service for Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and plans to attend Auburn University.
Jacee’s essay outlined an interactive presentation she and other FCCLA members made before several student groups during the 2013-2014 school year, entitled “LOL, Is it really worth it? Because no one is laughing out loud now.”
Second Prize, $700
Nadia Harden is a senior at James Clemens High School in Madison. She is senior class secretary and president of her school’s National Honor Society chapter, and has been accepted to Auburn University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Nadia explained a program to help teens better understand and internalize the fact that texting and driving is a serious issue. It calls for public awareness advertising, stronger laws and stricter enforcement, and the use of smartphone apps to deter texting and driving.
Third Prize, $500
William Talbert is a senior at Grissom High School in Huntsville. He is a member of his school’s National Honor Society chapter, and has been a member of the tennis, math and debate teams during high school.
William called for prohibiting texting while driving (as Alabama and 43 other states have), enforcing the law with strict punishments for violations, and implementing programs to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.
Attorney Joe A. King Jr. of the firm said he and others who judged the contest were impressed by the writers’ strong advocacy of the need for teens and others to understand the dangers of texting while driving.
“All of us at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., congratulate Jacee, Nadia and William, and thank them for the work and thoughtfulness that went into each of their fine essays,” King said.
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, King said. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other groups have found teenage drivers more likely than older drivers to engage in texting while driving.
Any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of operating a motor vehicle is distracted driving and a danger, according to the NHTSA’s Distraction.gov website. “Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction,” according to the NHTSA.
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