PNA, the PNA Foundation, Pennsylvania’s newspapers, and AT&T are joining together again to host an “It Can Wait” editorial contest to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The 2017 contest, which begins October 3, 2016, is open to all Pennsylvania high school students and offers a $500 prize for the column or editorial that best answers the question, "Why is it important to take the It Can Wait pledge to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone?"
While 95 percent of drivers disapprove of distracted driving, more than 431,000 vehicle crashes a year are caused by it, often involving injuries and death. Despite knowing the risks, seven in ten drivers engage in smart phone activity while driving, and four in ten teens admit to social networking while driving.
We are asking PNA members to hold local contests, with a monetary or other prize of your choosing, to encourage high school students to write a column or editorial about the dangers of distracted driving. Entries may also be submitted by individuals from unsponsored areas. The PNA will announce the winning statewide entry the week of March 6, and the award will be presented at a luncheon on April 12, at the Hershey Lodge.
“It Can Wait” is a national movement urging drivers to visit www.ItCanWait.com, where they can pledge to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phone, and share their pledges via Twitter (#ItCanWait) and Facebook. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has helped increase awareness of the dangers of texting while driving to about 90 percent for all audiences surveyed and inspired more than 10 million pledges not to text and drive.
In 2015 and 2016, PNA and the PNA Foundation joined with AT&T to host statewide “It Can Wait” editorial contests. PNA member newspapers were invited to host local contests to encourage high school students in their communities to help make our roadways safer. A winner was recognized in each participating community and entered into the statewide contest.
Past statewide winners:
2016: Kyleigh Balint, Sullivan County High School, Laporte. Read Kyleigh’s essay and review our press release.
2015: Ryan Holzman, Boyertown Area High School. Read more about Ryan’s statewide and local victories and review our press release.