2016 Scholarship Essay Contest
First Place

Neblett Beard and Arsenault



Chase Jones

Age: 18

Hometown: Deville, LA

Currently Attending: Louisiana Tech University



Distracted driving is a detrimental action that yields destructive outcomes: death, injury, or a general negative well-being. According to statistics as of 2014, “3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers” (Facts and Statistics). That is an unfathomable large number that could easily be depleted. A wreck can be a horrifying event, but the awful, horrendous reality becomes put into place once death knocks on the door. Most accidents could easily be prevented by one simple mechanism: moving all distractions out of the way.

Distracted driving is often a term that people connote with texting, but distracted driving also encompasses other activities such as not looking at the road, grooming, playing on the radio, or not paying attention to road regulations. Even other passengers can become a distraction, and when one or more distractions occur simultaneously, usually chaos abounds. Personally, I used to text and drive. I really did. I am as guilty as they come. All of this changed though when my cousin Shai passed away because of distracted driving. She was texting a friend on a cell phone with no seat belt—which is an entirely different case and problem on its own—when she wrecked. I was forever changed by this. A perpetual cloud of gloom looms over her side of the family because Shai hurt not only herself, but her family members as well. Ever since this event, I have not allowed anyone in my family to text and drive if I’m with them. Texting and driving, as well as any other distraction, is prohibited in my family vehicles in homage of Shai and our own personal safety. My family even has a Facebook page called “The Shai Project,” and the project serves as a crucial reminder to teens and adults alike that driving distracted by anything generates bad ramifications.

I am not writing this essay strictly for scholarship purposes; I will not lie, I enjoy getting money, but I am writing this for both Shai and all other teens because I feel people my age are not aware that life is such a sensitive balance that can easily and abstractly be destroyed. All it takes is a simple distraction via cell phone or other activity while driving. There are a few steps that I can recommend to teens, and they may sound cliché, but just keep in mind that death has no barriers, and death never knocks. He just shows up, robs you of mortality, and leaves. You can prevent a visit from death by practicing safe precautions on the roadway. First, silence your cell phone, and place it in an area out of your realm of grasp. Second, only allow people in your car after you set boundaries. Do not let them be excessively loud, and do not allow them to create a disruption of any kind. Do not blast the radio at its zenith volume because that can be a barrier that blocks you from hearing safety horns or signals on the roadway. Also, please don’t groom yourself while driving. It is infinitely better to arrive looking a little shabby than to turn into a worm infested, emaciated corpse. Just keep that in mind. Think of the brutal melancholy that will wash over your family if you die because the depression will envelop them like dark consumes light, except this darkness is inexhaustible; you cannot escape it.

Texting and driving alone kills 3000 teens a year (Safety and Driving Regulations). Don’t fall into this statistic because life is such a precious thing. Don’t risk it for something petty and minute in importance because at the end of day, your life and your family’s and friends’ happiness is at the pedestal of importance. Learn from my cousin Shai, and think about the unthinkable, elusive Death that approached her doorstep because she took no precautions beforehand. I encourage everyone to like that page on Facebook, and more importantly, I encourage everyone to limit and eradicate all distractions in an automobile while driving. Tell your family members to pay attention to the road like I do, and be demanding about it. None of my family, including myself, lets distractions into the vehicle, and I want teens and adults all over the globe to do the same. Death, go away with the distractions that we are demarcating, and everyone, be aware of the wrath of death. Put up that cell phone.