Contest to fight texting while driving

Posted September 26, 2013 at 9:53 am


No Text sticker.jpg

The Sun will sponsor a local contest as part of a statewide “It Can Wait” $500 grand prize contest for high school students to write editorials about the dangers of texting while driving.

John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri, announced the contest at the Missouri Press Association (MPA) convention in Kansas City.

“I am proud to announce that AT&T, the Missouri Press Association and local member newspapers have the opportunity to partner together on a meaningful contest, which will challenge Missouri high school students across the state to write an editorial or opinion column highlighting the dangers of texting while driving and encouraging their peers to take the It Can Wait pledge,” Sondag said.

Texting while driving is an epidemic. More than 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting, often causing life-changing injuries and deaths, Sondag said. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident.

Despite knowing the risks of texting while driving, 43 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. However, there is an opportunity to change this behavior, he said. Ninety percent of teen drivers say they would stop if a friend in the car asked them and 78 percent say they are likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it is wrong.

Local newspapers, along with the MPA and AT&T, will sponsor and challenge Missouri high school students across the state to write an editorial or opinion column highlighting the dangers of texting while driving and encouraging their peers to take the “It Can Wait” pledge.

Students will write a 500 word editorial or opinion column about the dangers of texting while driving. The piece will answer the question, “Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text and drive?” The piece will highlight the dangers of texting while driving.

The piece must include the following call to action, “Take the pledge to never text and drive at ItCanWait.com.”

The contest is open to all students enrolled in any Missouri public or private high school or home schooled.

How are entries to be submitted?

Entries can be emailed to sunnews@socket.net, mailed to the Sun at P. O. Box 71, El Dorado Springs, MO 64744 or hand-delivered to the newspaper at 125 North Main St.

Here is the Contest Schedule:

Contest announced at the MPA Annual Convention September 6, 2013, in Kansas City.

Contest begins on National Drive 4 Pledges Day – September 19, 2013.

Announced by Local Newspapers in newspaper and/or directly with schools.

Contest ends at the local level October 19, 2013.

Local winners announced by Local Newspapers and forwarded to MPA Office Oct. 25.

Contest ends with final statewide winner announced Nov. 1.

Local newspapers will determine the local winners and send to the MPA office. MPA will then determine the one statewide winner.

The prize for the statewide winner is:

$500 prize, a tour of the MU School of Journalism and the MPA Building in Columbia, and a dinner for the student and his/her guests with the leadership of AT&T, the MPA and their local newspaper publisher.