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As you're driving, the phone rings. Or a text message sounds. Someone is trying to reach you, and it might be important. It's hard to ignore. All too often, we succumb to the temptation, engaging our phones and disengaging from our driving duties.

Talking, texting, taking photos, browsing social media, streaming content. They're all decisions that cost some 3,500 lives per year.

Because of the danger, the News Tribune again is teaming with AT&T and the Missouri Press Association to sponsor "It Can Wait," essay/video contests open to Cole County high school students.

Entries to each contest should answer the question, "What is the most persuasive argument to convince people not to drive distracted?" In addition, entries should include a Twitter campaign message of up to 280 characters.

Each contest must be done by a single entrant, not several. Also, each contestant may enter one contest, not both.

Video submissions must be between 60-90 seconds. Each must contain all original content.

Send submissions to either contest to [email protected] Essay contest entries also can be sent to "It Can Wait," c/o Jefferson City News Tribune, 210 Monroe St., Jefferson City, Mo. 65101.

The essay contest has no length restrictions, but many in the past have been between 400-700 words. If outside information/statistics are used, sources should be cited in the essay.

Winners of each contest will be determined by a panel of judges at the News Tribune, and each will receive $500. The News Tribune will publish the winning essay in its print edition and the video at newstribune.com.

The local winners will be entered to compete in the statewide contest, which gives a $750 cash prize for each category.

Entries must be received by 5 p.m. Feb. 10.

The contest is open as of today. Don't wait to share your message about distracted driving, possibly saving lives in the process.

News Tribune

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