Save the Text and Your Life | Teen Ink

Save the Text and Your Life

October 3, 2011
By Anonymous

Annie was all finished with work and driving home. As her phone snatched her attention, she stopped at a red light. Thinking she would just look and see who it was as she was stopped, she grabbed the phone from its spot in the passenger seat. Annie had not seen her friend in months, so her day brightened when “Jess” popped up on the screen. She decided that she must reply. It would have clearly taken too long to sit there, as the light had turned green; Annie continued to drive as she responded about the restaurant they were meeting at the next day for lunch. As she concentrated on her texting, she drove along, and the sharp turn she had taken so many times before loomed ahead. She never had the chance to meet for lunch the next day. She never had the chance to speak with her friend again. She never had the chance to send one more text. In order to save countless lives, parents and local governments need to work together to solve the problem of teens texting while driving.

It is impossible to ignore the enormous number of accidents and deaths caused by young adults who are texting behind the wheel. The reason for most deaths among women under the age of 35 is now automobile accidents. Texting is a leading factor in many of these deaths. We could avoid so many of these horrific scenes. Even drunk driving seems less substantial compared to the threat of texting while driving. The reaction time of a drunk driver decreases by 12 percent. The reaction time of a texting driver decreases by 35 percent compared to a driver that was not distracted (Moore). Teens everywhere are falling into the trap disguising itself as a text from a friend. As soon as their eyes are off the road because that text is too important to ignore, anything could happen. Friends and family lose their lives every day because of this.

Parents are a massive influence in the lives of teens, and they should act more to decrease the risks taken by teens who text and drive. The people who have known and raised these teens should surely be the ones working hardest to keep them safe. Twenty percent of drivers say they have texted while driving. If we only look at the ages between 18 and 24 for that study, that percentage increases significantly to 66 percent (Schulte). With most of the offenders being teens, parents need to do more as far as punishment. Of the teens that knew parental punishment would not happen, 52 percent of them said that they would continue to text as they drove. However, of the teens that knew punishment would come, only 36 percent said they would continue texting while driving (Moore). These teens might be ignorant of the risks, and the best way to help is for parents to show them that texting while driving is wrong. This is not saying that parents should take away all rights to a cell phone; instead, it is saying that texting while driving needs to have a real and strict punishment. A real change is possible if every parent helps by making sure that teens do not feel free to text while driving.

Local governments possess the power to ban texting while driving. Over 16 states have already thought about banning or limiting this crime. Every 9 out of 10 American adults also agree with those states who are considering making it illegal (Schulte). Since texting while driving may be more dangerous than even driving while drunk, an illegal act, why is it not already banned? Texting behind the wheel is endangering the lives of teens everywhere; therefore, it is a crime and legal punishment should reflect that. Furthermore, by putting the law against it, those who do not already realize how life threatening it is will likely make this discovery. Laws prohibiting it could work to lower texting while driving rates substantially.

We need to stop the safety issues texting is causing when combined with driving. Together, the death and injury of many teens can be prevented with parental and government influence. We can stop Annie’s story in its tracks. Annie’s mother, father, siblings and friends could all have one less nightmare. They could keep their friend and family member, looking at her face every day, instead of her obituary. To save teen lives, we must help them to understand the consequences of texting while driving. We must work so they will realize that texting while driving is like carelessly twirling a gun. We must also then act to punish this crime so even more teens are likely to skip the response the next time they hear a phone vibrating as they are behind the wheel. After all, whatever teens are texting about will not seem as important if they realize that lives are on the line.

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