Meet Devin, Our 2020 Scholarship Winner
Devin’s Winning Essay:
Distracted driving is a nightmare that has made its way into reality.
A young girl grips the wheel with one petite hand. Music blares through the vehicle, shaking her and everything inside to the beat of the bass. She snatches up her phone from the passenger seat. Her thumbprint recognition quickly activates, allowing her to slide her soft, freshly lotioned finger onto the texting app. Every second, a new notification appears on the screen, popping up with a *ding*. Her best friends are blowing up their group chat. She never expected the usual bombing of messages to ruin her life, nobody does. Her fragile innocence cannot fight the dangerous temptation to see whatever information this device has in store. The gossip on the screen steals her attention from the road and anything around her. The last image that the young girl sees before the accident is the green speech bubble on her phone, not the shine of the red pickup truck. She does not notice the reflection of the sun bouncing off of the devil-colored machine barreling towards her.
The young girl, too full of youth to be laying almost lifeless, struggles. A clammy hand grips the wheel as jagged bones shoot through her skin. Blood turns her skin from pink satin into a frightening rust. Sirens from the demolished car punch through the air. Shaking, she reaches for her shattered phone, which has been flung from its home in the passenger seat. In pain, she struggles to grasp the device, but her willpower kicks in long enough for her to reach the very reason that she is in this mess. The broken glass pierces her fingers, but her brain does not allow her to feel the pain. Adrenaline has taken away her ability to feel anything, she is numb. Her thumbprint recognition activates, despite the dust and debris all over her body. As she dials 9-1-1, any thoughts of what her friends had to say are gone. None of that is important anymore. Instead, she is filled with fear of dying and regret.
There is not a single text message that will ever be important enough to risk your life. This terrifying scene appears to be a story of fiction for you and I, but has become a reality for many people living with today’s temptations of distracted driving.
As a teenager living in the age of technology, I am a constant witness to the issue of distracted driving. I hate to admit it, but I have even seen it among my own friends and even my family. While I have never, and will never, allow myself to get distracted by my mobile device, it is not something that is hard to come across. Texting and driving is a common problem. An abundance of individuals on the road see no problem with texting and driving. It happens so often that most people today don’t think anything of it. Though they have not experienced the danger from this action, it only takes one moment, the blink of an eye, for their regular activity of texting behind the wheel to turn into a life-threatening experience.
I refuse to allow my friends or family to end up in this situation. I constantly do everything in my power to protect my loved ones from the temptation of distracted driving. Anytime my eyes land on a delinquent hand reaching for an item that could lead to distracted driving, I offer to take over the task. Whether that be to look up directions or send a text message, I will offer my assistance. I handle the task of turning the dial on the radio. If they deny my help, I deny them the opportunity to get onto their device.
The radio plays a multitude of songs on a variety of different stations and kids often get bored with the same station for a long period of time. While my friends are behind the wheel, I take control of the stereo. I do not permit the music to get to an unsafe volume and I will not allow a driver to change the station or select a song. That becomes my job. A silly little song will never be worth the life of a human.
After my friends and I make our way through a drive-through, I deny the food the opportunity to distract them. I sit in the passenger seat with the greasy fast food bag, gripping the fries and cheeseburger until we have safely arrived at our destination. Many people forget about the dangers of eating while driving, my friends included. I tightly grasp the food, keeping it away from the driver until I know that it is safe to consume. While my friends may be slightly annoyed with me at the time, I would much rather see them annoyed than in the same situation as the girl in the story.
Throughout my entire life I have wanted to help people. That includes helping people understand the dangers of distracted driving. I will do everything that I can to protect others. This is why I plan to become a lawyer. As a young female with a passion for providing others with safety, I want to make a difference. I will do this through both informal acts in my daily life, such as prohibiting my friends and family from driving distracted, as well as through work in the legal system within the United States. There is no reward greater than that of saving others.
I understand the value of life. The possibility of losing such is a risk that I will never be willing to take. The human life is unlike anything else. Humanity is a gift. An object as miniscule as a cell phone or a french fry should never be given the ability to take away this gift. Distracted driving will never be worth it.
The consequences of texting and driving will lead to an unimaginable number of deadly scenarios. I do not promote distracted driving because I do not want my loved ones to become the young girl in the story. I don’t want anybody to be the main character in that story. I will do anything in my power to prevent the horrors of driving with an absent mind. I will do everything that I possibly can to stop anyone from becoming the person behind the wheel, filled with fear of dying and regret. There is not a single text message that will ever be important enough to risk a life.