At Raybin & Weissman we are so proud of our 2018 Texting and Driving Video Scholarship winners, including Jacob Fawcett, a high school senior at Hunters Lane High School.
As our local (Davidson County) winner, Fawcett received a check in the amount of $1,000 at our scholarship ceremony, which was held at our offices on Church Street on April 25. Fawcett says he plans to use the money to help pay tuition at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).
As you may know, the Raybin & Weissman Texting and Driving Scholarship competition is open to high school juniors/seniors & college students. It calls for entrants to submit Public Service Announcements that highlight the dangers of texting and driving. To qualify, videos must be between 30 and 60 seconds long and uploaded to YouTube.
As always, choosing the winners was not an easy process, as we received numerous entries that were both powerful and creative.
Among those was Fawcett’s video (titled “Already Dead”), which features a model skeleton as a prop.
Interestingly, Fawcett keeps the skeleton in his car to help him combat what he refers to as “driving anxiety.”
“I was scared of driving by myself, so if I made myself feel like I was not alone I could drive. Surprisingly, it worked,” he says.
But Fawcett decided to re-purpose the skeleton and make it the star of his nearly one-minute long video.
As one might expect, the skeleton gets hit by a car—sending it flying through the air.
“The skeleton illustrates the idea that the victim was already dead as soon as the distracted driver in the video picked up their phone and started texting. The message is you shouldn’t be picking up the phone in the first place,” adds Fawcett, who has already been the victim of a texting and driving accident.
“My dad and I were going through an intersection and this lady ran a red light,” he recalls. “She was trying to follow the person she was following—either her husband or father—but she was texting, trying to tell him to slow down. She ended up slowing down by hitting us.”
Fortunately, neither Jacob nor his father was seriously injured in the crash.
“I was in the back seat and she T-boned us on my side. Luckily my dad turned a bit at the last second so the impact was a little in front of me. Otherwise it could have been really terrible. My ears were ringing a little bit afterwards but none of us were seriously injured,” he adds.
But that experience makes Fawcett especially uncomfortable about the fact that a lot of his classmates are texting and driving.
“I’m hoping my video stays in their minds and that the next time they go to text and drive that they will remember it,” he says.
Meanwhile, Fawcett plans to study mechatronics engineering at MTSU, which he describes as “a type of engineering that combines mechanical, electrical and computer sciences.”
“The scholarship money will go towards tuition. I’m going to be in debt no matter what, but this will help a lot,” he concludes.
Raybin & Weissman’s 2019 Texting and Driving Scholarship Contest
Anyone interested in entering our 2019 texting and driving scholarship—which offers a $1,000 prize to each of three winners (local, regional and national)—can review the complete rules and requirements on our Scholarship page.
Our hope is that the scholarship contest—along with great videos like the one produced by Fawcett and fellow 2018 winners Coal Dye and Blake O’Donnell—will help raise awareness and reduce the number of texting and driving accidents.
Sadly, Tennessee continues to be one of the worst states in the country for texting and driving. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 24,781 distracted driving accidents in the state in 2017, as well as 5,545 in the first quarter of 2018.