2019 Hoffoss Devall Safe Driver Scholarship Winner
We are excited to announce the winner of the second annual Hoffoss Devall Safe Driver Scholarship: Andie Bostick
Name: Andie Bostick
Currently Enrolled (2019): University of Louisiana, Lafayette
“Last year, Lafayette, Louisiana experienced an extreme freeze that put the whole city on hold. With Lafayette weather constantly being hot and humid, the freeze was something no one knew how to deal with, which caused everyone to stay home and not go to work or school. As a student I found it enjoyable to have an extra week off from school, as any student would, but I did not expect it to be the saddest week of my family’s life. My cousin, late at night, was walking back with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. A truck, coming at a extremely fast speed, either did not see my cousin, which is highly unlikely, or he was distracted. He hit my cousin with his truck, and the blow immediately killed him. At the time, I did not have a driver’s license or a car, so something like this really frightened me as a future driver. I knew from then that I held an extreme responsibility towards everyone on the road, whether they are in a car, on a bike, or on their feet. I always feel compelled to make sure everyone is wearing their seat-belts, whether or not I’m driving. I always keep drivers in check and make sure they don’t get on their phone while I’m in the car. I hope my persistence will help others understand how important it is to stay aware while driving. I know a text, call, or song can wait. Nothing on our phones are more important than a life.
When I got my car a year later, I felt overwhelmed and scared. I think it was a normal reaction for any new independent driver, but I felt this more intensely I think. I drive my younger brothers everywhere since they don’t really have anyone else to drive them places. Both of my parents are busy workers and both of my older sisters are currently in college. As a current senior in high school, I still go to school with my brothers, so they spend a lot of time in my car. I know what it feels like to be in a car with a unsafe driver. It is such a threatening feeling overall, and no one should feel that way in any car. I hope my brothers never feel that way in my car. I always make sure that everyone in the car has their seat belts on and that my phone is put away. My full attention is on the road. Looking at my phone during a drive is just not worth the liability. I could never imagine a life knowing that I killed someone just because of my lack of attention or carelessness. I don’t know who killed my cousin, but I’m sure he thinks about that night very often. He probably considers all of the things he could have done better in order to have not gone through that experience. I would be too traumatized to ever drive again. I couldn’t go behind the wheel ever again if I knew that I was careless enough to take a life and ruin a family’s mental health. It is just not worth it.
I remember going back to school the week after my cousin’s death. It was a strange coincidence when I went back because my Chemistry teacher, at the end of class, lectured us about driving safe. She was moved by a story that she heard in which two students died from a horrible car accident. They were either under the influence or distracted, but the point of her lecture was to tell us that distracted driving was not worth it. A stupid decision can take a life, and I felt moved after that lecture. I asked to speak from personal experience towards my peers, and I did. I let them know that my cousin died from a horrible accident as well. He could still be alive if that other driver just would have chosen better decisions. I had to tell them that distracted driving is extremely real. No one expects it will happen to them until it does. It can happen to anyone. Teenagers usually feel invincible towards anything. They are the thrill seekers and chance takers. They believe they have the world in the palm of their hand, but the reality is that irresponsible decisions will effect anyone. Death doesn’t have bias. Death will take any person without prevail. Driving carelessly can ultimately lead to death. It is so easy to die in a car. Most people, especially teenagers, don’t understand those dangers. No one should feel like death is always upon them, but being cautious is extremely important when it comes to driving.
I have been driving for almost a year, and I can say that driving obviously gets easier with practice. I don’t feel the extreme anxiety from driving like I used to, but evens still, I always make sure to do the right thing when driving. I have never texted while driving, I have never watched videos while driving, and I most certainly have never driven under the influence. I always hold my self accountable while I drive. I want everyone to be safe while driving. Driving is an activity that gets people from point A to point B and nothing else. It should not be an activity that people feel they can take advantage of. This activity is one of the most dangerous everyday tasks humans perform in their day to day lives. People drive so often that they don’t even see it that way anymore. There should be more awareness towards driving. I probably couldn’t even count on my hand how many people I see on the road with one hand on the wheel and the other on their phone. This is a reality that everyone faces in our generation. In order to truly stop distracted driving, phones can track the speed in which it is traveling, and we can use this technology to prevent texting and driving. Distracted driving should not be taken advantage of, and I hope everyday that more and more people can realize that too.”