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Huntsville, Ala. – Congratulations are in order for Jordan Jett, John Washington and Sidney Gunter.

They are the winners of the 2018 driver safety scholarship contest from Morris, King & Hodge – our partners in the Distracted Driving project.

Jordan Jett just graduated from Lawrence County High School and will attend the University of North Alabama this fall, where she intends to major in elementary education.

Her winning essay was inspired by personal experience. As Jordan explains, she was on her way home one night when she noticed the screen on her phone light up.

“Seeing no one else on the road, I slowed down and tried to respond… before I could finish typing, I looked up to see my truck headed straight for a mailbox.”

As Jordan swerved to avoid the mailbox, she lost control and her truck skidded into a power pole.

Fortunately, she was unhurt but realized “within the span of a few seconds, my life and the lives of those around me could have been drastically changed.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by second-place winner John Washington, a graduate of Hazel Green High School.

As he prepares to head to UAB to study business marketing, he shared his reflections from the essay process, saying, “you’re not only risking your own life when you’re on your phone but someone else’s and it’s just that split second where it’s out of your control.

All the winners also recognize this is more than just a teen problem.

Sidney Gunter, who just graduated from Huntsville High, earned the third-place scholarship award with her video submission.

In describing the scope of the distracted driving problem, she says, “it’s everyone. As I drive to school, I see many people on their phones, yelling at their kids, eating breakfast and even with their headphones in.”

In addition to receiving the Morris, King & Hodge scholarship, the students also took part in the recording of a public service announcement with Joe King about the dangers of distracted driving.

You can read the winning submissions here:

Jordan Jett’s essay

John Washington’s essay

Sidney Gunter’s essay

We thank them for their efforts, congratulate them on their wins and wish them all the best in the future!