Refrain from texting while driving

Beth Pierschbacher/Letter to the Editor

This letter is a result of a unit done in Brian Winkel’s American Literature: 1930 to Today class where students studied the format of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Students then used that format to create their own letters to the editor about important issues that affect teenagers today.

Dear Editors:
I am a student in Mr. Winkel’s American Literature: 1930 to Today. We just recently finished reading Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and it has inspired me to write about banning texting while driving. Even though I am guilty of texting while driving, I am going to stop because it’s becoming a great cause to accidents and distraction while driving.

Driving a car has distractions and challenges to begin with, and it should be obvious that texting on a cell phone is one more distraction we can do without. There have been studies that using cell phones, especially text-messaging, is one of the most dangerous distractions for a driver and may have bad consequences. A recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute videotaped truck drivers over 18 months, and it showed that texting made them 23 times more likely to crash or narrowly avoid a crash. As of now, laws and provisions vary within states, but currently seven states ban hand-held cell phone use while driving, and texting is banned for all drivers in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Nine states, including Texas, prohibit text-messaging by inexperienced drivers. Various bills are trying to be passed to ban cell phone use while driving, but really it’s only you who can decide for yourself if texting is urgent enough to die or kill someone else for. The cost for distractions annually is 330,000 injuries, 2,600 deaths, and $43 billion.

Texting while driving will end up affecting everyone because even if you’re not texting when you’re driving, the person behind you may be and crash right into you. “This is certainly a legitimate concern.” For the states in which cell phone usage is prohibited, it’s like Dr. King said in his letter: “One who breaks an unjust law must do so with a willingness to accept the penalty.” By breaking a law and getting caught, there will be a fine. I hope that all states in the future ban cell phone usage while driving because as the years go by, it will become more of a problem and cause of injuries, possibly death.

In order for action to happen on this issue, bills need to be passed throughout every state, not just a selected few. As King wrote, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tired in a single garment of destiny.” If congress just talks about doing something about the problem, it will never go anywhere without actually stating the law.

Text-messaging while driving is becoming as dangerous as drinking and driving, meaning it inhibits a teen’s driving abilities. Driving while on a phone now being compared to drinking and driving shows how dangerous it can be to other drivers. Even though texting may be quicker than having a conversation on the phone, looking down away from the road is the main cause of accidents.

A story that really shows what texting while driving can do is about five teenage girls. These girls had just graduated from high school and were on the way to their parents’ vacation house when they ran into a tractor trailer. They were all pronounced dead at the scene. Police investigators say the cause was texting. The driver had sent a message two minutes before they crashed and the person replied one minute before. Although they can’t prove the driver was the one texting, there really isn’t any other evidence leading to the cause of the accident.
Cell phone texting is a huge problem around the world. Getting your purpose across, “Perhaps is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts to say wait.” In the end your message gets through to others, just as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s purpose through his letter did.



CFHS student

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