By SALLY MATHIS
“Eighty percent of the accidents are attributed to distracted drivers, 25 percent of those are because you’re using your cell phone,” said senior Simran Kaur.
Kaur is part of the Dorsey Scholars, a group of eight students who received the Judy Dorsey scholarship. The group campaigned at The Nest last week to spread awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.
“[They] coordinate campus community service initiatives to inform students to spread awareness about the dangers of texting and driving,” according to Kaur.
The Dorsey Scholars asked students to sign their pledge against texting and driving.
“[The group’s mission is] to spread awareness that texting while driving is a danger,” Kaur said. “[Abstaining from] it increases your safety and increases the safety of those around you. It’s something simple that you can do to maybe live longer.”
The pledge reads, “I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now, I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by committing to drive as responsibly as I can. I will not text or use my phone while I am driving. If I need to use my phone, I will pull over to a secure location.”
According to Kaur, people between the ages of 18 and 24 make up 50 percent of people who text.
Although she said most students do not feel that they’re distracted drivers, the overall reaction of the students to the campaign has been a positive one.
Many of the students who signed the pledge card said they signed because they were involved in an accident of texting while driving, Kaur explained.
“In 2008 alone 6000 people were killed and half a million injuries in the United States [were related to texting while driving],” she said.
Distracted driving accounts for nearly 25 percent of car accidents, according to Kaur.
They received over 400 signatures on the pledges from both students and UMW faculty members.
“We had our campus police stop by and sign the pledge card [and] people who work at The Nest and Seaco dining have signed the pledge card,” Kaur said.
Dean Rucker, Doug Searcy and several professors also took time to pledge their commitment not to text and drive.
President Rick Hurley’s wife, Rosemary Hurley, championed this cause, according to Kaur.
“Mrs. Hurley really feels passionate about this cause and really wants the student body to be safe,” said Kaur. “For her this is really about the student body who commute and the safety of the community while driving.”
The Dorsey Scholars plan to hang the completed pledge cards in Lee Hall as a reminder to students not to text and drive.