ESU wins “Don’t Text #Just Drive” contest

November 29, 2016

Emporia State University received the highest number of votes by percentage of students enrolled to win the initial “Don’t Text #Just Drive” fall contest among seven Kansas Universities. 

In all, nearly 35,000 pledge votes were cast by students, alumni and supporters of each university, all taking the pledge not to text while driving. Those votes account for one-third of the universities’ student populations.

Emporia State’s 3,749 pledge votes counted as 63.68 percent of the total student population, the highest percentage among the seven universities.  Other schools (in order of percentage votes) in the contest were Pittsburg State University, 60.01 percent (4,262 votes); Wichita State University, 38.39 percent (5,556 votes); Washburn University, 37.85 percent (3,017 votes); Fort Hays State University, 34.53 percent (5,062 votes); Kansas State University, 26.38 percent (6,272 votes); and the University of Kansas, 19.71 percent (5,599 votes).

"We want to thank  all of the faculty, staff, and students who participated in the campaign by taking the pledge!  Please continue to uphold your commitment to 'Don’t Text #Just Drive!'," said Blythe Eddy, director of student activities and community service in the Center for Student Involvement.

Besides Emporia State’s percentage win, each school had a unique attribute to its pledge campaign, according to statistics compiled during the contest.  Kansas State had the highest number of pledges; KU had the most widespread support throughout the state; Pittsburg State had the best “drive for change” in promoting downloads to block text messages while driving; Washburn had the biggest jump in votes in one week; Fort Hays State had the most pledges by text message; and Wichita State had the most student government promotional involvement.

“We are gratified by the number of students, alumni and school supporters who pledged their vote and their willingness to stop needless traffic accidents because of distracted driving,” said Ken Selzer, CPA, Kansas Commissioner of Insurance. 

The Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas Department of Transportation, AT&T, The Kansas Automobile Insurance Plan, the Kansas Turnpike Authority, The Kansas Highway Patrol, Allstate Insurance Company, State Farm Mutual Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance and Upland Mutual Insurance Company sponsored the fall campaign, which ended Nov. 22.

Activities publicizing the pledge contest were conducted at each university, and public service announcements were aired and editorials printed by statewide news media throughout the campaign. 

Assisting with the campaign was Kendall Schoenekase, Miss Kansas 2016, who chose “Stay Alive, Don’t Text and Drive” as her public issue during her reign.   

“We couldn’t have had the response we did without the public commitments from our sponsors, Miss Kansas and our university student leaders,” Commissioner Selzer said. “Their willingness to consistently get the message out will make a statement for Kansas drivers for years to come.”

A national study found that three out of four people surveyed admitted to texting while driving, even though they agreed that the activity is dangerous to themselves and others.

“All Kansans are winners through this campaign,” Commissioner Selzer said. “We’ve shown pride in our universities and made a safety statement at the same time. Now it’s up to those who pledged to follow through on their commitments.”



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