The Chaffin Luhana Foundation (CLF), a nonprofit organization that encourages the development of human potential and supports community empowerment, is pleased to announce the winner of its 2020 Anti-Distracted Driving Scholarship. The annual award honors one student helping in the fight against distracted driving with a $2,500 scholarship to be applied toward further education.
Recognizing the dangers surrounding distracted driving, each year CLF invites students attending college in the Greater Pittsburgh Area to submit an inspiring essay about distracted driving awareness. These essays can be about a personal experience, a proposed awareness campaign, or technology and its impact on distracted driving in the United States.
In her winning essay, Eva Hanselman reflects on several personal experiences related to distracted driving: both when a family member was almost hit head-on by a driver who was texting as well as when a family friend was distracted and crashed her car.
“[These incidents] caused me to wait until I was 18 to get my license (instead of 16 like my friends). Those two experiences, in addition to the responsibility of eventually driving my three young siblings, made me realize that I wanted to be absolutely sure of my driving ability,” writes Hanselman, who will attend Mercyhurst University this fall. “When I get in the car, I keep my purse on the floor with my phone inside it on silent. I keep the radio off or on low, and a window is always cracked so I can hear patterns in the traffic more clearly.”
Distracted driving injured more than 400,000 people in 2018 alone and claimed over 2,800 lives during that same time, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, distracted driving doesn’t just affect the driver. Of the 2,841 lives taken, more than 1,000 “nonoccupants” (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) were killed.
“Despite the decrease we saw in driving related to the coronavirus, distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of accidents on our roads,” said Eric Chaffin, Foundation Trustee and Founding Partner of Chaffin Luhana LLP, a national catastrophic personal injury law firm in the Greater Pittsburgh Area, “Teens are particularly at risk, but can also be change agents. With our scholarship essay contest, we hope to encourage them to think about distracted driving, the consequences and how they can help us change the mindset behind it.”
For more information about the Chaffin Luhana Foundation, please visit ChaffinLuhanaFoundation.org.