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Students invited to submit editorials on dangers of texting while driving

Posted on Monday, September 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

High school students in Lincoln County are invited to write local editorials about the dangers of texting while driving…and have a chance to win $500 in a statewide program to cut down texting while driving. The winner at the local level will receive $200 from local sponsors The Lincoln County Journal and the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce.

John Sondag, president of AT&T Missouri, announced the contest Sept. 6 at the Missouri Press Association (MPA) convention in Kansas City.

“I am proud to announce that AT&T, the Missouri Press Association and local member newspapers have partnered together on a meaningful contest. This contest will challenge Missouri high school students across the state 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,” Sondag said.

Texting while driving is an epidemic. More than 100,000 crashes a year involve drivers who are texting, often causing life-changing injuries and deaths, Sondag said. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident.

Despite knowing the risks of texting while driving, 43 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. However, there is an opportunity to change this behavior, he said. Ninety percent of teen drivers say they would stop if a friend in the car asked them and 78 percent say they are likely not to text and drive if friends tell them it is wrong.

Students will write an editorial or opinion column about the dangers of texting while driving. The piece will answer the question, “Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to never text and drive?”

The essay must include the following call to action, “Take the pledge to never text and drive at”

Who can participate in this contest?

The contest is open to all students enrolled in any Lincoln County public or private high school.

How are entries to be submitted?

Entries can be emailed to, or hand-delivered to the newspaper at No. 20 Business Park Drive in Troy.

Here is the Contest Schedule:

Contest begins on National Drive 4 Pledges Day – September 19, 2013. Contest ends at the local level ­ Oct. 19, 2013.

Who will judge this contest?

The Journal and the Chamber will determine the local winner and send to the MPA office. The MPA will then determine the one statewide winner.

In addition to the $200 local prize, the editorial will be published in The Lincoln County Journal.

What is the prize for the statewide winner?

A $500 prize, a tour of the MU School of Journalism and the MPA Building in Columbia, and a dinner for the student and his/her guests with the leadership of AT&T, the MPA and their local newspaper publisher.