EDWARDSVILLE - The TorHoerman Law Firm in Edwardsville has launched an innovative way to get youth to think about their full attention when driving with its first-ever "Distracted Driving Scholarship Contest."

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The TorHoerman Distracted Driving Scholarship Contest has a $1,000 scholarship award to the winner.

In 2015 alone, distracted driving resulted in 391,000 injuries and claimed the lives of 3,477 passengers in the United States. It is estimated that 60 percent of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving. These numbers continue to rise each year.

"This week, we’re launching our first ever ‘TorHoerman Law Distracted Driving Scholarship’ contest," the firm said in a release. "As personal injury lawyers, we see all too often the consequences of distracted driving, and our hope is to prevent these types of accidents from occurring by promoting awareness – starting with our youth.

"As we’ve seen in the news of late, students have the ability to make an incredible impact, and we’d like to offer a $1,000 scholarship to a student who feels they could make a difference regarding the issue of distracted driving. Students who wish to apply can submit either an essay or video answering the following questions:

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What would you do if your friend was texting while driving?

Why does society accept distracted driving?

What can we do to raise awareness of the dangers and prevent drivers from participating in distracted driving?

Eric Terry, a Partner and Attorney at TorHoerman Law, said: “We’ve all seen examples of distracted driving – you’re driving down the highway and see a car swerving. As you cautiously pull up next to them, you see that the driver is not focused on the road but on the phone in their hand. As attorneys, we see the unfortunate results of what can happen because of distracted driving – unnecessary injuries and loss of life."

Terry continued: "With this dramatic increase in injuries and lives lost, the firm feels that we need to help educate young drivers about the dangers related to distracted driving. By raising awareness, educating, and challenging the youth to be a part of the solution and not just the problem, we hope to see distracted driving decrease, and that is the sole purpose of our scholarship."

In addition to education, there are additional solutions to the problem: changes in the law with stricter sentencing guidelines, phone technology that disables the ability to use the phone while driving, and automobile manufacturing enhancements that would disable the ability to drive if the driver were using his/her phone."

"Of course we hope to not only continue the scholarship, but to increase our commitment to solving this problem in the years to come," Terry said.

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