The Patterson Law Group team is proud to announce that Addison Stone, a sophomore at Texas Woman’s University, is the winner of our biennial # TextFreeForTita Fighting Distracted Driving Scholarship. She stood out from the crowd with a powerful essay and earned the $ 1,000 in financial support for her education.
Addison holds a degree in arts education from Texas Woman’s University and is a member of the TWU Honors Scholars program. She currently has a GPA of 3.91 despite having held various student positions and creating art as a commissioned artist for a wide range of buyers. Her high school work as a Kindness Ambassador for the Lewisville Independent School District was a taste of the impact she will and is already making in her community, including her advocacy for distraction-free driving.
Though they didn’t know each other, Addison directly links that endorsement to the tragic incident that led to the death of Tita Lourdes Shaffer, who inspired the scholarship. Addison got student permission three months after the accident and was made aware of it through friends visiting the Liberty Christian School District. This created significant driving intimidation for Addison, but over time that intimidation has turned into an advocacy for safer driving in Texas.
Distracted driving continues to be a significant and deadly problem in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 97,000 car accidents were caused by distracted drivers in 2019, resulting in nearly 400 deaths and more than 2,500 serious injuries.
In her essay titled “Everything is Bigger in Texas,” Addison adds an important variable to this already serious problem. As she points out from her own experience,
As an article on the Houston Chronicle pointed out last year, speed-related accidents actually increased despite overall traffic on the roads of Texas declining after the pandemic broke out. In the eight-county Houston area, fatal accidents decreased 19 percent between March 12 and May 31, 2020. However, speed-related fatal accidents actually increased by 13 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
The Texas Department of Transportation has established specific procedures for determining safe speed limits based on road layouts and conditions. However, these regulations can still create dangerous conditions for teenage drivers like Addison who are just getting used to the conditions on the road. Distracted driving only multiplies the hazards associated with these situations and causes potentially serious harm and even death to drivers who obey all the rules.
One number that caught Addison was the fact that in 2016, the year of Tita’s death and her learner’s permission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association released a report that found 1,100 people in Texas alone were due Speeding accidents were highest number in the nation. That number could cause a lot of new drivers to freeze. For the newest fellow, this resulted in actions:
As a result, she advocates a “golden rule” driving mentality: she treats others on the road as you would like to be treated. She now goes through a regular checklist before getting in the car that includes an early arrival plan, inputs the destination into her GPS before departure, and selects her preferred playlist before leaving her parking lot to avoid unnecessary distractions. These simple steps can make a world of difference.
Addison also advocates implementing a road safety initiative that emphasizes the same principles of the Golden Rule. Your goal is ambitious: to help Texas achieve the highest safety rating among young drivers.
Like Addison, the Patterson Law Group aims to promote responsible driving habits for citizens of all ages. We are pleased to offer this award as another means of publicizing the dangers of text messaging or other actions while driving, while also providing an opportunity for an outstanding student to receive support for the cost of higher education.
The # TextFreeForTita scholarship is intended to raise public awareness of the increasing risk of distracted driving. One in five road deaths in Texas is caused by a distracted driver, despite government regulations. It was created in honor of Emma “Tita” Lourdes Shaffer, who lost her life in a car accident caused by a distracted driver. On April 6, 2016, her mother was driving her home from dinner when her car was hit head-on by another driver who was distracted by writing non-urgent text messages. Tita was 12 at the time of her death, a thoughtful 6th grade with a bright future ahead of her.
The biannual competition offers a full-time student attending or attending an accredited university or law school in the United States the opportunity to receive US $ 1,000 grants towards college or law school tuition and related education costs. Eligible students can enter the competition until May 31 for the Spring Competition or by December 31 for the Fall Competition by completing their application and showing their creativity to reduce the number of distracted road deaths.
Fortunately, deaths from distracted driving are preventable. Creative ways to educate everyone about the danger, including small prompts like those outlined by Allison, can go a long way in reducing the danger and creating safer roads for all.
Congratulations, Addison. We value everything you do to keep yourself and others safe on the road and turn your concerns about safe driving into positive advocacy and a drive for change.