Scholarship winners share life-saving message about importance of stopping distracted driving

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Huntsville law firm in encouraging young people to be part of the solution to distracted driving.

Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. recently held its 2nd annual Driver Safety Scholarship contest.  The law firm invited high school seniors and college freshmen to submit original 1,000-word essays on the important topic of distracted driving.

L to R: Samin Riyaz, Nour Qushair and Lauren Faulkner wrote the winning essays. (Photo: Denise Vickers/WHNT News 19)

L to R: Samin Riyaz, Nour Qushair and Lauren Faulkner wrote the winning essays. (Photo: Denise Vickers/WHNT News 19)

Entrants were challenged to create an original essay "explaining the dangers of texting and driving and practical steps to ending this momentous problem."

The law firm's goal was to increase awareness of a serious traffic safety issue that is a particular problem among young drivers.

The law firm increased the amount of scholarships awarded from $3,000 last time to $4,200 this year. More than 50 students submitted essays for consideration in the Driver Safety Scholarship Contest.

This year's winners are:

  • Lauren Faulkner - Grissom High School (first place). She plans to attend Auburn University and major in industrial design.
  • Samin Riyaz - Huntsville High School (second place). She plans to study bio-medical sciences at Brock University in Canada and specialize in a professional medical field.
  • Nour Qushair - James Clemens High School (third place). She plans to study business at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

For her essay, Lauren Faulkner examined the need for a multi-faceted approach to the issue. She advocates for stricter enforcement, along with more education for younger drivers.

Samin Riyaz also believes enforcement is key. She would like to see a total ban on cell phones while driving in all 50 states.

Nour Qushair says the $25 fine for texting and driving is too low and does not reflect the urgency of the problem.

The winning essays were selected based on style, originality of content, and accuracy.

"We wish to congratulate the winners and are appreciative of all those who participated in the essay contest," said Joe A. King, a partner at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. "We received many impressive entries. Obtaining a sound college education is an important step for young people to realize the career goals that they have. We are delighted to help these students pursue their educations."

We congratulate each of the winners on her award and thank her for sharing her message!