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Valerie Vegas (Univ. of Central Florida, UCF): Don’t Text & Drive

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WELCOME: Valerie has been chosen as one of 5 finalists in our $1,000 Don’t Text & Drive Scholarship, which is intended to help raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving amongst college-aged students.  Studies have shown that 18-24 year olds are twice as likely to be involved in a texting and driving accident than any other age group.  The finalist that creates the most social interaction about their essay, wins! (facebooktwitter
 and Google+

Make sure you “like,” “share,” “retweet,” and/or “+1” the social media post that led you here! (Rules)

Valerie’s Essay:

I can’t stress enough how dangerous it is to text and drive. Many people have died because of this. What is unfortunate is that it is not just the people who text and drive that die or get severely injured, but it is often those in the other cars, those who were actually playing it safe. To be honest, I can proudly say that I do not text and drive. I did use to at the beginning of my driving experience but it ended after one incident. Valerie VegasWhen I was out driving with my little sisters, after a few months of having my license, I took the risk of answering a text message. My father was actually diving behind me and noticed that the car slightly drifted. I was caught, he knew what I was doing. I do not know why I felt that urge to do so. It wasn’t even an important text let alone emergency. I just answered it because i thought i was capable of multitasking, and I am clearly not. Which is a problem many people have, they think they can be solving many problems or doing other things at once, but it is just not possible. It was then in that moment that I thought about them, my little sisters. If something were ever to happen to them and it was my fault, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Especially if it were something caused by such a stupid accident, texting and driving. It is actually, to this day, the number one cause of death for teens.

We, teens, think we are invincible, and that is not true at all. For me it was not difficult to stop texting and driving, because I know that i can answer them later, at another time, while I am not driving. The text message isn’t going anywhere and if it were an emergency, they would call. It doesn’t frequently bother me by answering later, I have no rush to answer. To be honest, I prefer to live and arrive to my destination safely and alive than answer a text and put my life or the lives of others at risk. It simply isn’t worth it.

The most texting and driving I “do” is at stop lights. What I do to myself, so that I am, in no form, tempted to reply to a text is that I have my phone connected to the bluetooth. So that in this case, I do not hear the texts and notifications coming in. What is good about bluetooth is that I get phone calls, so that if there actually is an emergency I can safely answer without taking my eyes off the road for too long. This screenshot I chose was my last conversation with my dad. I answered him at the stop light on Research Parkway on my way to pick up my cousin. I am not ashamed of it because I was stopped doing it, but I would like to spread the word about the danger of the act of texting and driving. It is possible to quit, I stopped texting and driving, you can too. Think about others and the people you are putting in danger, and you can do it. Put it down, its not worth it.

~Valerie Vegas

NOTE: while some minor formatting was done while posting, this essay was not edited by the Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan.

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