Students raise texting and driving awareness 

click to enlarge Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann honored 17 Indiana high school and college students who took part in the “Drive Now. TXT L8R” program. Each award-winner received $5,000. - SETH MORIN, THESTATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann honored 17 Indiana high school and college students who took part in the “Drive Now. TXT L8R” program. Each award-winner received $5,000.
  • Seth Morin, TheStatehouseFile.com

By Jess Seabolt
Seventeen high school and college students were honored Friday after earning $5,000 scholarships for creative social media posts to raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving.

“A texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-texting driver,” said Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. “Instead of making a tragic mistake behind the wheel, Hoosier high school and college students put their smart phones to good use educating others.”

A total of 179 students posted more than 7,000 tweets and 47 photos or videos using Instagram and Vine – social media outlets – in April for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The scholarships awarded were part of the “Drive Now. TXT L8R” contest sponsored by the Indiana Department of Labor.

Winners were determined by “Most Creative” posts on Vine and Instagram, and by most “likes” and “retweets” on Twitter, Instagram, and Vine.

Officials from the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police tracked the posts and judged the entries that were most creative.

click to enlarge Austin Hoffman, left, and Logan Schroering, right, pose with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. They were two of nearly 200 participants in the “Drive Now. TXT L8R” program where nearly 7,000 tweets and 47 photos and videos were posted. They took home the award for “Most Creative on Vine, College Division.” - SETH MORIN, THESTATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Austin Hoffman, left, and Logan Schroering, right, pose with Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann. They were two of nearly 200 participants in the “Drive Now. TXT L8R” program where nearly 7,000 tweets and 47 photos and videos were posted. They took home the award for “Most Creative on Vine, College Division.”
  • Seth Morin, TheStatehouseFile.com

Austin Hoffman and Logan Schroering – University of Southern Indiana students – collaboratively won “Most Creative” on Vine in the college division. Their entry portrays the boys sitting in a car texting when something crashing into them. The screen flashes white and then it shows the boys slumped over.

Hoffman said the contest was “a good opportunity to let people know about texting and driving and motivate them to put their phone down instead of picking it up.”

“We make a lot of Vines anyway, so we were thinking we might as well give it a shot,” Hoffman said.

Schroering said that coming up with the idea for their Vine took a lot of “brainstorming.” He said that he and Hoffman sat in the car and took the shots over and over until they thought it looked good.

Hoffman and Schroering took a “selfie” Friday with Ellspermann, who congratulated the boys and said that they “did a good job.”

Jess Seabolt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news sevice powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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