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Texting while driving is a problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012, driver distraction was the cause of 18% of all fatal crashes, with 3,328 people killed, and crashes resulting in an injury, with 421,000 people hurt.
Despite knowing the risks of texting while driving, 43% of teens admit to texting while driving. However, there is an opportunity to change this behavior. Ninety percent of teen drivers say they would stop if a friend in the car asked them and 78% say that they are likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it is wrong.
The Arkansas Newspaper Foundation (ANF), Pacesetting Times, and AT&T are sponsoring and challenging Arkansas students, ages 14 through 19, 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.
Write an editorial or opinion column about the dangers of texting while driving. Word limit is between 300 and 500, and entry must include student name, daytime phone number, parent/guardian name, school, and English teacher’s name.
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.”
Submit entries to one of the following, pacesettingtimes@yahoo.com, 703 S. Bend Dr., Horseshoe Bend, or P.O. Box 132, Franklin AR 72536.
The contest deadline is October 28. A local winner will be announced by Pacesetting Times after this date, and will receive $75. Then the entry will be sent to the state level.
A statewide winner will be announced November 13. The winning prize on the state level will include $500, a special guided tour of the state capitol and a dinner for the student and their parents with leadership of AT&T, the ANF and the Pacesetting Times.

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