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Egner Flannery (Mississippi State): Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship

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While I do not tend to partake in texting and driving, I do occasionally glance at my phone or send a quick text at a stop light. Though, that was not the case yesterday. I was driving home from Orange Beach, Alabama from a girl’s spring break trip. I was driving with two friends in the car back to their house in Georgia. I was checking my emails while driving because most of my emails are time sensitive as I am on the executive board for my sorority. I did not have the answer to respond to that email at that time, so I sent the person a text. I sent her a text reading “Happy Birthday! I did see your email … I am working on an answer …”. Now, as I am writing this, I realize the importance of that text could have waited, just as the response for the email had to wait. I took a big risk reading my emails and sending a text on the highway with my life and two other lives in my hand, and not to mention the lives of the people around me. Looking back, I felt the urge to take that risk at that particular time because my emails are time sensitive, especially when someone higher up is emailing me about a situation for a social event. I felt the need to at least let her know that I saw her email and intended to respond, just could not at the moment. I did not want her to think I was ignoring her, so that is why I felt the urge to text her.

As I said at the beginning, I do not text and drive frequently. I disapprove of it entirely, but I do have the occasional slip ups at stop signs, stop lights, and if no one is around me. I have been in the situation where I have been in a wreck because of my phone. I was, again, driving two of my friends on one of the busiest roads in my town on a very bright, sunny afternoon. I picked up my phone at a stoplight, saw a notification, but then the light turned green, so I pressed the gas and handed my friend the phone. Next thing I knew, my car was in the back of a truck. It took me 3 seconds to see the notification and to hand my phone to my friend to end up in a wreck. After that, I stopped texting and driving with people in the car, though I still look at my phone when I am alone at a stoplight, stop sign, or when no one is around me.

It has been difficult for me to stop texting and driving because I feel as if texts require immediate responses and if you do not respond right away, the person on the other end could get the wrong idea and think you are ignoring them. It is difficult because we live in a society where we are immediate people- we require immediate responses and attention.

I do believe I can stop texting and driving completely and hope to do so soon. I have realized the risk it puts me in and the risk it puts other drivers in. I plan to stop texting and driving by putting my phone on do not disturb while driving and leaving it put up in my purse or in my back seat.

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