Michigan Auto Law offering scholarships for anti-texting

FARMINGTON HILLS — Michigan Auto Law is offering $5,000 in scholarships to high school students who create the best persuasive video, tweet or graphic to convince young drivers to reduce distractions while driving. The application deadline is August 31.

The annual Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship is named after Kelsey Raffaele of Sault Ste. Marie who died in a cell phone-related automobile crash at the age of 17 in 2010. Kelsey’s mother, Bonnie Raffaele, worked tirelessly with the Michigan legislature to enact Kelsey’s Law in 2013 which prohibits Level 1 and 2 drivers from using a handheld mobile phone while driving a vehicle.

“The scholarship has been created in her honor to inspire change in teens who drive distracted and help prevent car accidents,” says Michigan Auto Law president and attorney Steven Gursten. “Car accidents are the number one killer of teens and texting while driving increase your risk of crashing by 23 times. Anything we can do to get the word out and convince teens to put down their phones is crucial.”

The scholarship application requirements are:

• Open to high school graduates Class of 2019 and high school seniors, Class of 2020, who attended or are attending any public or private Michigan high school (finalists will need to provide proof of enrollment with a student I.D. or transcript);

• Michigan resident with a valid Michigan driver’s license;

• If under the age of 18 by Oct. 11, 2019, a parental consent form must be signed by a parent or guardian if selected as a finalist; and

• Applicants can submit either a YouTube video (30 seconds maximum); a graphic (PNG only); or a Tweet of 110 characters or less.

Entries will be judged on: ability to persuade others, especially teen drivers, to stop texting while driving; ability to grab the attention of friends, peers and family; a clear and understandable message and demonstration of personal creativity and ingenuity.

The best overall submission will win a $2,000 scholarship; best video submission, $1,500; best graphic submission $1,000; and best tweet submission $500. Students are limited to one type of submission. The awards will be applied toward tuition at any university, college or technical school in the U.S. for higher education.

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