It Can Wait essay contest announces sponsors, prize money

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Carroll County Newspapers is partnering with AT&T and the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation to challenge Arkansas students to write an essay, editorial or opinion column about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving. The contest began Thursday, Sept. 13, and runs until Friday, Oct. 25.

The local winner will be selected by our staff. The first-place winner will receive $700, with second place taking $400 and third place taking $300. That’s all thanks to our local sponsors: Equity Bank of Berryville and Eureka Springs, K-Way Auto, Arvest Bank of Eureka Springs, the Crescent and Basin Park hotels, Teigen Insurance, Harts Family Center, Farm Bureau Insurance, Richard Harp Insurance, Joann Clark Insurance, Johnson’s Automotive, Windle & Associates, Suzette Jackson Insurance and Poynor Drug.

Those winners will be entered into the statewide contest for the chance to receive a $500 cash prize underwritten by AT&T, a special guided tour of the Arkansas State Capitol and a luncheon for their family.

In the piece, Carroll County students ages 14-19 are invited to answer the question, “Why is it important to take the It Can Wait Pledge to never drive distracted?” The piece should highlight the dangers of smartphone distracted driving and must include the following call to action: “Take the pledge to never drive distracted at”

Entries should be between 300 and 500 words long and must be typed. Include student name, daytime phone number, parent/guardian name, grade, school and teacher/sponsor name in the entry.

You’re never alone on the road, which is why distracted driving is never OK. Research from AT&T shows that nearly all those surveyed consider smartphone distracted driving to be dangerous and nearly nine in 10 people admit to using their smartphone while driving. Of these people, 81 percent text while driving, 60 percent email and 47 percent surf the net.

However, there is an opportunity to change this behavior. New research shows that pledging matters and makes a difference — 70 percent of the people who took the It Can Wait pledge have stopped using their smartphones while driving. And those who shared their promise or pledge with others were more inclined to speak up to those around them.

For more information on the local contest, email Samantha Jones at

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