Partnership With DRIVE SMART Virginia Will Combat Distracted Driving
RICHMOND, VA — With eight out of ten traffic crashes in Virginia caused by distracted driving, McGeorge Toyota and DRIVE SMART Virginia have partnered to offer a $15,000 scholarship, in an effort to increase awareness of the dangers of driving while distracted and save lives.
The Saving Lives, Supporting Futures Scholarship program was developed earlier this year after members of McGeorge Toyota and DRIVE SMART Virginia began discussing ways to increase awareness of a problem that causes more than 3,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries annually (NHTSA).
“Increasing awareness of distracted driving is something we’re passionate about here at McGeorge Toyota,” said Bob Farlow, general manager of the Richmond-based dealership. “We think it’s important enough that we’re willing to offer a complete one-year scholarship to a student who best expresses why it’s important not to text and drive or do other things that can take your focus off the road.”
Students in Greater Richmond can enter to receive the scholarship by giving a 140-character reason to not drive distracted. Eligible candidates can visit mcgeorgetoyota.com/scholarship.htm to fill out the entry form. Based on the entries, ten finalists will be selected to write a 500 to 1,000-word essay exploring why they have chosen to not drive distracted. Out of those finalists, one winner will be chosen to receive the $15,000 scholarship, which can be used for academic purposes.
Many people are distracted when driving. In fact, nearly 80 percent of car crashes involve some type of distracted driving incident. Individuals who text and drive are twenty-three times more likely to increase their chance of being involved in an incident. “This is a big problem in our community and we are thrilled that McGeorge Toyota has stepped up to build awareness of the dangers of distracted driving,” said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia. “This scholarship program provides a great opportunity for students to consider the consequences of distracted driving and will encourage more young people to give driving their full attention.”
The scholarship program will begin April 1 and a winner will be announced shortly after the program ends on August 1, 2015. Participants must be between the ages of 16 and 25, have a valid driver’s license and live in the Greater Richmond area (within the counties of Amelia, Caroline, Charles City, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King and Queen, King William, Louisa, New Kent, Powhatan, Prince George, Sussex, and the city of Richmond). The scholarship must be used for academic purposes only and receipts of reimbursement must be presented.