One-on-one with State Farm Road Safety Ambassador Rhea Chawla
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Recently, our Centers for Disease Control Fellow for Safe Kids Georgia, Sirena Gandy, had an opportunity to learn more about Rhea Chawla and all that she is doing to help educate the community about road safety.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I am a junior at Flowery Branch High School in Hall County. I also attend Lanier Career Academy for design. After high school, I want to pursue a career in fashion design.
2. What inspired your movement?
March of this year, my mom was involved in a car accident in which she was hit by a distracted teen driver. She still deals with emotional and physical effects of the crash. I really want people to be aware of the real risks of distracted driving.
3. What were the difficulties in planning your Road Safety event and how did you overcome those difficulties?
The biggest difficulty was getting the word out. To spread the word, I used advertisement, sent email blast to schools within the district and had an interview with Fox 5 at Lanier Career Academy.
4. What do you think will change about road safety and teen driving over the next 5 years or what changes do you hope to see?
I think that in 5 years, there will be a law in place banning the use of phones for any function while driving. I just believe that there will be an elimination of all distracted driving. One thing that I hope to see is the probationary period of being able to transport others (outside of parents and guardians) extended from 6 months to a full year.
5. What/who keeps you motivated?
My parents are what keep me motivated, especially my mom because of her experience with the car crash. My peers are also what keep me motivated.
6. What do you do when you aren’t working on your initiative?
I love designing; that is my passion. I really enjoy graphic design and art. Recently, I became a 4-H Master and won 1st place at district and state for design and construction. For the competition, I designed and constructed a prom dress.
7. What action do you want the readers of this interview to take after reading?
I want them to realize the importance of safe driving. Many teens don’t realize how real the consequences of distracted and reckless driving are. I care, and I want others to care too.
8. What new projects or ideas for road safety do you have coming up?
After the road safety event, I did some awareness work at a fall festival event in my neighborhood. Within the next couple of months, I plan to go to all 6 high schools in my county to talk about road safety.
9. How can other teens and organizations get in touch with you for more information?
The best way to contact me is by email. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.