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West Iron graduate earns scholarship for distracted driving awareness video

James Swanson III, left, a 2019 graduate of West Iron County High School, is congratulated by Brandon Hewitt, attorney at Michigan Auto Law. Swanson placed first in the annual Kelsey Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship competition.

FARMINGTON HILLS – Michigan Auto Law has announced the winners of its annual Kelsey Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship competition.

The competition calls for the best video, tweet or graphic to convince young drivers to reduce distractions while driving.

The winners this year are:

Best Overall Winner ($2,000 scholarship): James Swanson III, from Iron River. Swanson, 18, graduated from West Iron County High School and is attending Columbia College Chicago. Swanson submitted a compelling video that demonstrates how much damage can be done in just a few minutes of distraction while behind the wheel.

In his video, which will be shown in schools and social media throughout Michigan, are 2019 West Iron graduate Olivia Rozine and Stambaugh Elementary student Brandon Lindberg.

Best Video Winner ($1,500 scholarship): Cameon Wade, from Troy Mich. Wade, 18, graduated from Troy Athens High School and is attending Adrian College. Wade submitted a video depicting how dramatically a life can change in a few thoughtless moments.

Best Graphic Winner: ($1,000 scholarship): Owen Oszust, from Canton, Mich. Oszust, 17, attends Plymouth High School. Oszust’s effective graphic uses a cardiogram as its background.

Best Tweet Winner ($500 scholarship): Olivia Zack, from Plymouth, Mich. Zack, 18, graduated from Starkweather Academy and is attending Schoolcraft College. Zack’s tweet: Driving is already one of the most dangerous risks we take every day. Don’t let a tweet increase that risk. Stop distracted driving NOW. #xMyTest.

The annual Kelsey’s Law Distracted Driving Awareness Scholarship is named after Kelsey Raffaele of Sault Ste. Marie who died in 2010 in a cell phone-related automobile crash at the age of 17. Kelsey’s mother, Bonnie Raffaele, worked tirelessly with the Michigan legislature to enact Kelsey’s Law in 2013 which prohibits Level 1 and 2 drivers from using a handheld mobile phone while driving a vehicle.

“We are deeply impressed by the creativity and professionalism of the students submissions,” says Michigan Auto Law President and Attorney Steven Gursten. “Car accidents are a leading cause of death of teens and texting while driving increases your risk of crashing by 23 times. Anything we can do to get the word out and convince teens to put down their phones is crucial. These students have contributed to this endeavor with ingenuity and imagination.”

Applications for the 2020 Kelsey Law Scholarship is open and the deadline is March 31, 2020, to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. To learn more about the scholarship and submission rules, please visit the Michigan Auto Law Distracted Driving Scholarship page at https://www.michiganautolaw.com/scholarships/kelseys-law/.

Michigan Auto Law is the state’s largest law firm specializing in automobile accidents.

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