Eagle Scout wants you to stop texting and driving

William-BaumanWilliam Bauman was just 13 when he started a crusade against distracted driving.

A driver’s license was still three years away, but he was in the back seat when his mother rear-ended another driver. His mom was sending a text and hadn’t seen the other car.

Wanting to stop his mom and others from this dangerous habit, William went to work.

At age 14, he started his Eagle Scout project. The goal: Launch a public-service campaign about the dangers of texting and driving.

His project got the attention of local media and earned him the prestigious Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award from his council.

William turns 16 soon, and his Eagle Scout project is long finished. But William isn’t. He’s still passionate about putting an end to texting and driving.

“Today I was driving my parent’s car and saw an adult on his phone driving boys back from a Memorial Day parade,” William writes. “My heart sank when I thought about what could happen to those little boys just because an adult wanted to use his cellphone and not even think about the dangers he was putting the boys in.

“I felt I needed to do something to send a message to all leaders and parents to stop using their cellphone while driving. Bryan, can you please help me?”

William wrote a letter to all parents and Scouters, and I think it’s one you should read. Check it out after the jump.

An open letter to parents and Scouters

Dear Parents and Scout Leaders,

Crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in the U.S. In fact, 15 teens are killed each day in motor-vehicle crashes — more than the next three leading causes of death for this age group combined. It’s sad to think that Scouts may be among those statistics.

But teen crashes aren’t the only problem on our nation’s roadways. Some 25 percent of crashes involve drivers distracted by cellphones. While at least 213,000 crashes involve drivers texting, at least 1.1 million crashes each year are caused by drivers engaged in cellphone conversations.

From the time our children face forward in their car seats, they are watching us drive. They observe the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to our driving. It’s our responsibility to keep our children safe behind the wheel. Leading by example is one way we can do that.

By being safe-driving role models for our children, we have the opportunity to define what it means to be safe drivers. We must demonstrate through our actions that seat belts save lives and should be worn on every trip by all passengers. Cellphones should not be used while driving. Traffic laws must be obeyed at all times.

I’m asking for the support of parents and Scout leaders like you. There are great, free resources offered by AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign.

If you have — or are about to have — a new driver in your home, it’s important that you and your teen understand your state’s teen driving laws. You can find a listing at this link.

Don’t wait till your children are of driving age before talking with them about safe driving. After all, it’s important that our children know how to be safe passengers, too.

I want to keep our Scouts, their families and our leaders safe. I am asking all parents and Scout leaders to refrain from using cellphones while driving, especially when transporting Scouts. If a call or text needs to be made or responded to, pull over to a safe location or ask someone else in the car to take care of the call or text for you.

We owe it to our Scouts to ensure their safety is our top priority and that they are returned home to their families safe and sound.

Sincerely,

William Bauman
Eagle Scout, Troop 73
Northeast Illinois Council

P.S.: Earning the Traffic Safety merit badge is a great way to learn more about these subjects.