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High school students win small scholarships for advocating against distracted driving

Texting while driving
C. Todd Lopez
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army
It's illegal to text or talk on the phone while driving in Troy, MI

Four high school students were recently awarded between $500 and $2,000 in scholarships.

The reason? Advocating against "distracted driving." Distracted driving includes any activity -- such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, talking to passengers -- that could divert a person's attention away from driving.

These students applied to Kelsey's Law Scholarship: a contest promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving through video, tweets, and graphic submissions.  

Applicants were asked to submit persuasive messages showing how they'd convince young drivers to reduce distractions.

You can see the winner from each category below :

Best Overall: Emily Eggenberger – Alma High School, $2,000 prize


Best Video: Amanda Abro – Walled Lake Western High School, $1,500 prize

Best Graphic: Jon Perrault – Escanaba Senior High School, $1,000 prize

Credit Courtesy http://www.michiganautolaw.com/kelseys-law-scholarship/winners/
Courtesy http://www.michiganautolaw.com/kelseys-law-scholarship/winners/

Best Tweet: Nathen Foster – Byron Center High School, $500 prize

Credit Courtesy http://www.michiganautolaw.com/kelseys-law-scholarship/winners/
Courtesy http://www.michiganautolaw.com/kelseys-law-scholarship/winners/

The contest honors Kelsey Raffaele, who died in a 2010 automobile accident while using her cell phone. 

In 2013, Governor Rick Snyder passed Kelsey's Law, which outlaws cell phone use for anyone on a level 1 or 2 Michigan graduate driver's license. Violators can face up to $295 in fines and costs. Michigan banned texting while driving in 2010. 

Motor vehicle crashes are particularly harmful for young people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sights them as the leading cause of U.S. teen death. From the CDC:

"In 2013, 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, an almost 10% increase since 2011."

Forty-six states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have banned text messaging while driving.

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