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York Dispatch, PNA host high school essay contests to combat distracted driving

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Maria Prusakowski of Spring Grove tries texting while driving the UNITE’s Arrive Alive Tour simulator at the Penn State York campus Thursday, Sept.7, 2017. The college hosted the drunk driving and texting simulator which shows participants the dangers of drunk and distracted driving in a safe environment. Bill Kalina photo

The Pennsylvania News Media Association Foundation and The York Dispatch are hosting essay contests giving teenagers the chance to win money by raising awareness about distracted driving.

The statewide "It Can Wait" contest is co-sponsored by AT&T and gives high school students a chance to win $500 by writing an editorial or column answering the question, "Why is it important to take the 'It Can Wait' pledge to drive distraction-free?"

"It Can Wait" is a national movement that allows individuals to pledge to "care for those around them and put their phones down while driving," according to a news release.

While 95 percent of drivers report disapproving of distracted driving, each day nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured as a result of it, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

So far, more than 30 million individuals have made the "It Can Wait" pledge in an effort to change that.

More:Driver accused of texting before fatal crash to stand trial

More:"Here...but driving" Texting-while-driving campaign Ashlyn Stambaugh

Additional $200 and $100 prizes will be awarded to second- and third-place winners in the statewide contest, respectively. Entries can be submitted at http://panewsmedia.org/Events/it-can-wait-campaign.

The York Dispatch is holding a local contest with the same criteria and is offering a $200 prize to one local winner. York County residents in high school can email their submissions for the local contest to news@yorkdispatch.com. Please note "It Can Wait contest" in the subject line. Entrants should include their names, ages, grade levels, schools and phone numbers. Entries must be received by 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6.

More:It Can Wait 2019 essay contest official rules

The York Dispatch will announce its winner Feb. 6. The winning local entry will be submitted to the PNA Foundation, which will announce its winners the week of Feb. 25.

Official rules can be found online at www.yorkdispatch.com.

The PNA winners will be invited to accept their awards at the PNA Foundation luncheon Wednesday, April 3, at the Hershey Lodge, Dauphin County.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.