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Florida student wins texting safety design contest

Hah’mari Waston of Sanford, Fla., submitted the winning entry in the DOT’s Distracted Driving Design Challenge. (Courtesy: DOT)

The Trucker News Services

11/14/2012

WASHINGTON  — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Tuesday unveiled the winning submission in the Department of Transportation’s Distracted Driving Design Challenge.

The “Text & Wreck” icon was designed by 14-year-old Hah’mari Watson of Sanford, Fla.

Created to raise awareness among young drivers about the dangers of texting and cell phone use behind the wheel, the Distracted Driving Design Challenge invited teens to create an original icon with an anti-distracted driving message that could be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networking sites.

The winning design was selected by LaHood and will be incorporated into DOT’s distracted driving campaign on Distraction.gov.

“The Department of Transportation is committed to helping young drivers get the message that texting and driving don’t mix,” LaHood said. “My congratulations go out to Hah'mari for her terrific design, and I hope her social media icon will serve as a helpful icebreaker for young drivers struggling to speak up to others about the dangers of distracted driving.”

Watson, a freshman at Seminole High School in Sanford, Fla., was inspired to create her icon because she and her family were involved in a minor car crash caused by a texting teen driver two years ago.

While no one was seriously injured, the accident showed Watson how quickly a momentary distraction could have serious consequences.

“I hope my design will help other young people realize just how dangerous it is to text and drive at the same time,” Watson said.

LaHood unveiled the winning icon while delivering the keynote address at the first ever Florida Distracted Driving Summit in Tampa, Fla. The event brought together federal, state, and local officials, law enforcement, traffic safety experts, physicians, and businesses focused on reducing distracted driving in the state.

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In June, the Department released a “Blueprint for Ending Distracted Driving” that offers a comprehensive strategy to address the growing and dangerous practice of using handheld cell phones behind the wheel.

The plan, which outlines concrete steps stakeholders around the country can take to reduce the risk posed by distracted driving, builds on the national momentum that LaHood and the DOT have led for the last three years.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to stop distracted driving, visit www.Distraction.gov.

 

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

 

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