Essay contest on distracted driving begins Thursday

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Carroll County Newspapers is partnering with AT&T and the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation to challenge Arkansas students to write an essay, editorial or opinion column about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving. The contest begins Thursday, Sept. 13.

The local winner will be selected by our staff and will then be entered into the statewide contest through the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation. The statewide winner will receive a $500 cash prize underwritten by AT&T, a special guided tour of the Arkansas State Capitol and a luncheon for their family.

In the piece, Carroll County students ages 14-19 are invited to answer the question, “Why is it important to take the It Can Wait Pledge to never drive distracted?” The piece should highlight the dangers of smartphone distracted driving and must include the following call to action: “Take the pledge to never drive distracted at”

Entries should be between 300 and 500 words long and must be typed. The deadline to submit is Friday, Oct. 25. Include student name, daytime phone number, parent/guardian name, grade, school and teacher/sponsor name in the entry.

You’re never alone on the road, which is why distracted driving is never OK. Research from AT&T shows that nearly all those surveyed consider smartphone distracted driving to be dangerous and nearly nine in 10 people admit to using their smartphone while driving. Of these people, 81 percent text while driving, 60 percent email and 47 percent surf the net.

However, there is an opportunity to change this behavior. New research shows that pledging matters and makes a difference — 70 percent of the people who took the It Can Wait pledge have stopped using their smartphones while driving. And those who shared their promise or pledge with others were more inclined to speak up to those around them.

The Arkansas Newspaper Foundation, Carroll County News, Lovely County Citizen and AT&T will again sponsor and challenge Arkansas students to write a column highlighting the dangers of texting while driving and encouraging their peers to take the It Can Wait pledge.

For more information on the local contest, email Samantha Jones at

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