Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – A crash that changed my senior year

Name: Jack Burns
From: Franklin, TN
Grade: 12
School: Battle Ground Academy
Votes: 48

We are all excited to get our driver’s license and take the wheel
of a car. Freedom! Too many of us are so excited that we forget
that we have basically been given the keys to a lethal weapon. For
some of us, tragedy is one car ride away. For others, we will spend
many years safely driving ourselves and our friends and families.
What makes a determination in which group we fall in to? I believe
it starts with driver’s education.

education serves to educate young people about the hazards of
driving. Not only do we learn the rules and laws of the road, but we
also learn, through practical experience, how to actually maneuver
our cars and trucks in a safe fashion. Driver’s education also
allows us a safe and focused way to practice our driving skills and
to develop the muscle memory that all good drivers need. Who among
us has not heard that we should not be using cell phones when we
drive? I know that I have and, there are even signs posted along the
roadways to remind us of this.

One night around
5 p.m., I was coming back from completing new hire paperwork for a
lifeguard job I was going to be starting. I was stopped in traffic
on a two lane road in front of the local high school when all of a
sudden, I heard a large BAM and the next thing I knew, my car was
impacting the back of a truck in front of me that had also been
stopped. There was smoke coming out from under my hood and all I
remember thinking was that “my car is on fire, I need to get out
right now!” The man that hit me was not paying attention even
though he told the police officer he had seen the stopped traffic and
had seen my brake lights. I believe that he was on his cell phone.
My car was totaled. I hurt my back and had a concussion. My
shoulder, from the seat belt was sore for weeks. Schoolwork became
harder due to my head injury. And on the night I was supposed to
find out if I was accepted to one of my top choice colleges, I was
instead sitting in the emergency room at Vanderbilt.

The person who
hit me drove his car away and probably does not give much thought to
me and the accident. Sure his insurance rates will probably go up
but I do not think he understands how he hurt an innocent person by
being careless. I was lucky, I was not on one of the 34,000 people
killed in auto accidents each year but, to be sure, accidents not
involving facilities still have bad outcomes, if not for you, for
someone else. We all need to be mindful and careful when we drive
these lethal weapons called automobiles because, our lives and the
lives of others depend upon it.

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