Safer Roads Scholarship Winning Essay

Auto Accident Lawyers Indianapolis, IN

Three years ago, I lost one of my closest friends to distracted driving. She had been texting someone back and wrapped her car around a telephone pole. Makenzie was a joyful, hardworking student and her life ended after just 17 short years. I was 15 at the time, just beginning to learn to drive with a driver’s permit, and my world was shaken not only with grief, but concern for myself and others. My driving habits have been forever changed. This scholarship opportunity means so much more to me, knowing that distracted driving habits have taken such a toll on many in my life. I would never wish this experience on anyone and I am grateful that companies, individuals and organizations are taking steps to prevent such events.

 I often journal and used to write Mackenzie letters after she passed. This persuasive argument will be what I would say to her today if she was still with us, including some sections of journal letters.

 Hey Kenz, it’s been a while. I know you’ve been really busy with school; those chemistry classes seem hard! I also noticed that whenever you get really busy and stressed, you start emailing your teachers on your way to your night class. Also, sometimes you just text people and, um, every-once-in-a-while, you do it with our friends in the car. It scares me a little, Kenz.

Can I talk to you about it?

It’s just that, you slam the brakes a little hard when you’re texting and don’t realize a stoplight has become red; or you don’t go right away when it turns back to green. And sometimes you don’t see another car so close and nearly rear-end it, and my life begins flashing over my eyes. I know, it sounds silly to be so worried, I do trust you, but I don’t trust texting and driving or any of those other distractions. My heart sinks when you pick up your phone behind the wheel. Also, when you flip through loud radio stations, grab your makeup from the backseat or start searching the glovebox for the Taylor Swift CD we love. I wish you would let me do it.

I know, I know you don’t care about the “TV statistics in commercials just trying to scare you”. But didn’t I tell you about that one book I read forever ago? It was a mom’s journey through her daughter’s death after a horrific head-on collision. The daughter was on a busy road, was changing the song playing on her phone and swerved. It made me think of what our moms would do. Your dad would miss his Jeopardy and your mom would have to leave her night shift at the clinic. Your little brother would be left confused on why he couldn’t go to baseball.

Connor would need explaining from those that couldn’t. No more Bachelorette and sparkling white grape juice with the girls, no more of your cute dates with Ryan, we would be left without you. All of your hard work in your classes would amount to pencils in the backseat of your wrecked car. Those texts you would have sent would be your last words never spoken.

It makes me mad, to think about the “what-ifs” but they’re becoming “whens” now. When will you risk your life and others’ for a text never sent? When does a silly pop song become more important than the people that love you? When do cosmetics become life-or-death? I don’t know the answers, none of us do, but this has to stop. I can’t lose you. The girls and Ryan can’t lose you. Your baby brother can’t grow up with a best friend, mentor, and sister. Children aren’t supposed to die before their parents. And what if you take that away from another family? What if someone else’s brother, sister, best friend, aunt, cousin, wife, or hero was lost to your distractions? Kenz, you and I both know you couldn’t live with yourself. I guess my only real question is, when do you stop driving with distractions?

I love you and I’ve missed you. Stay safe and I’m begging you to put the phone down, for all of us.

Written by,

Faith E. Quigley

Ward & Ward Law Firm Safer Roads Scholarship Winner


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