The attorneys at Burch George and Germany take seriously our role as civic leaders in the Oklahoma City community. We are committed to helping deserving young people pursue college educations as the best route to achieving fulfilling careers and growing into productive, responsible adults. The cost of a college education is not getting any less expensive, so we wanted to assist, while also focusing on making Oklahoma a safer place by raising awareness of the very real danger of texting while driving.
Students who competed in the Teen Safety Oklahoma contest wrote essays to help publicize Oklahoma’s recently enacted ban on texting while driving, which took effect November 1, 2015. As personal injury attorneys who represent individuals and families harmed by negligent drivers in car accidents, we understand the serious harm caused by distracted drivers. Texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, putting everyone on the road at risk. We share the pain of our clients who have lost loved ones.
Catherine McNeill, a student at the University of Oklahoma, who won the $2,500 1st Place scholarship for submitting an essay entitled, “Be the Driver We Can Trust: How I Will Raise Awareness of Texting While Driving Ban.”
In the essay, McNeill writes, “The generation we are in is known as the “plugged in” generation, and today’s teenagers do not know how to disconnect. This inability to disconnect from the world via a handheld device is an addiction that has taken over our society and resulted in thousands of accidents and deaths every year. Oklahoma’s new ban on texting and driving is the start of a movement that will raise responsiveness and could ultimately help save lives.”
Coral Van Dyne, a student at Shawnee High School, won the Second Place Scholarship. She described a fatal car accident involving texting while driving that killed two fellow high school students and profoundly affected those at Shawnee High School. “Sadly, the terrible deaths of two students did not make a big enough impact to lead to no more texting within the community,” she writes. “Without the new law, we would soon be reliving the event from four years ago over and over.”
She continues, “Why would a person want to risk killing someone else for a pointless text? This should be the question people ask.”
Katelyn Dinh, a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, received the Third Place scholarship. “If people take the ban on texting and driving seriously, we will not longer have to see the road as such a dangerous and chaotic place,” she said.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all the students who submitted essays. We were inspired your ideas and wish you successful college careers.