Texting while driving creates havoc

Emma Shmidt/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 writing this letter to you because there has been a lot of media attention over texting while driving. It has been brought to my attention that this is an issue that needs to be taken care of. I am a student in Mr. Winkel’s American Literature: 1930 to Today class. Our class just got done reading Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, and reading that letter really made me open my eyes and see that the issue with texting while driving is an unsafe and dangerous decision to make.

There has been a lot of media attention about texting while driving. The Today show showed a scary and violent video of four girl’s texting while driving and three of the four girls were killed; the one holding the phone lived. The video really made headlines and made people realize that texting while driving is an issue that needs to be taken care of. A 2007 study conducted by AAA and Seventeen magazine has been widely misquoted as 46 percent of teens admit to texting while driving. But what the study found is that “61 percent of teens admit to risky driving habits.” Forty-six percent of that 61 percent say that they text message while driving. Those statistics should show that texting while driving is a horrible idea.

Texting while driving will affect everybody because it can take one person to make that bad decision to pull out his or her phone while driving and start to concentrate on the phone, more than the road. That’s when it starts to affect everyone, because that’s how car accidents start, and that’s when people start to get hurt and killed. I think, this issue also affects everyone because anyone is in danger of this because its out in the open and it’s a public issue that needs to be handled. This issue is affecting you if you drive a car no matter what because there are people everywhere pulling their phones out while driving.

Now is the time to take action about this issue because more and more people are getting in car accidents and more and more people are dying.  Martin Luther King Jr. said in his letter, “ We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.” I think this quote is perfect for this situation because people need to stand up for this issue and make it better. We need to start letting the news know more about this. We need to have policemen pulling people over and giving them tickets for using their phones. We need to take direct action now instead of just saying we’re going to do something about it. There is some action being taken. Seventeen states have banned cell phone use in cars, but what about the other states? Why aren’t the other states having the same law? That’s why I think we should take direct action now because this issue is only getting a little attention, and only some states are taking action.

The reason why I have such an issue with having your cell phones out while driving is because I’ve been in the car when my friends will pull out their cell phones and text and it’s a scary situation because they’re not concentrating on the road; they’re concentrated on texting. I always do tell my friends not to use their phones while driving because it is dangerous, and I also don’t like it because it puts the passenger responsible of watching the road for the driver when really the driver should be the one having eyes on the road at all times.

I think the people that would want to put a stop with cell phone use in cars would be the older age of people that have a little more sense about life and how they live. I also think younger teenagers just getting behind the wheel will be more cautious to take their phone out while driving. More than anything I think it’s a common sense thing. Either you take the chance of taking your phone out and using it or you keep it in your pocket and don’t take it out till your out or the car or at a complete stop. I think the “just” in this situation would be not taking your phone out. The right thing to do would be to keep it somewhere out of reach so you’re not tempted. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his letter, “Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, “groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.” I think this quote is so true. I think when people get around their friends or family they tend to have different morals or values and tend to act different, and that’s our problem right there. If people could just stand up for themselves like Martin Luther King, Jr. did, then this world would be a better place and there would be less violence and crime.

I think my plan for action will form together peacefully because I don’t think too many people will start violence because they cant use their cell phone in their cars. It’s just down to common sense. If you use your phone in the car, I think policemen should be able to pull you over and give you a ticket. I think the message about texting and driving should become an even bigger deal than it is. People need to realize sending a text while driving could potentially end up killing you or somebody else, so I think once people realize that they will understand the action I’m trying to take, and it could blow over peacefully.

I think after writing this paper to you it even opened my eyes more about the violence cell phone usage can do while in a car, so please just put the cell phone away from your reach when driving in a car and stick up for yourself and take a stand for yourself like Martin Luther King Jr. did. Tell your friends and family members to put their phones away while driving. You will make a difference.

Emma Schmidt
CFHS student


Class of 2014

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