Young woman inspires others to wait to text during awareness campaign

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 21, 2014) — It’s an illegal and potentially deadly decision people make behind the wheel every day: texting while driving. This month, state agencies are asking Hoosiers to help encourage one another to put down the phone while they’re in the car.

People younger than thirty make up the bulk of distracted driving accidents. It only takes seconds to look down, look up, and be in a lot of trouble. That’s what happened to 20-year-old Alyssa Rincker, who is speaking out now she says because she was fortunate enough to survive her mistake.

“I just remember looking up and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to do something really fast,’” said Rincker, recalling the April 1 crash that sent her crossing over a lane of traffic and slamming into a tree.

“She was in a neck brace and there was a lot of blood,” said her mother, Cindy Hollcraft.

Rincker said she remembers looking at her phone, possibly at a text message or some other form of social media application, just before impact.

“She right out of the gate admitted and said she was so sorry that she had been texting and driving and said she’d never do it again and said how much she loved me,” Hollcraft said.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Research shows a texting driver is 23 times more likely to get into a car crash than a driver who is not texting. A Department of Transportation report from 2009 shows 5,400 fatalities in crashes related to driver distraction.

The Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana State Police, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Labor and Criminal Justice Institute are holding a competition among high school and college students across the state to come up with a viral video campaign encouraging people to wait to text.

The Drive Now, Text L8R campaign has five categories for videos posted on Twitter, Instagram and Vine using the hashtag #TXTL8RIN. Winners can get a $5,000 college scholarship.

The competition runs through April 30 at midnight.

Rincker is already helping the cause by speaking to local groups of students who are about to get their licenses about learning from her nearly deadly decision.

“I don’t want anybody else to go through what I’ve been through. Obviously it hasn’t been as severe as other peoples’ accidents, but it’s definitely been an eye opener,” she said.

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