Texting and Driving: the Teen Tragedy in America

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Updated: Aug 03, 2023
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The Reality of Teen Driving: Distracted Behaviors and the Tragic Consequences in Rural and Urban Areas

Car accidents are one of the major causes of death among teenagers in the United States due to them being distracted while driving. Many teens feel that they are really good drivers and can text and do all sorts of things while driving. They are wrong. There have been thousands of deaths that have involved teen drivers being distracted. Every teen feels like they can multitask, but not in this particular situation.

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You must always remain focused. Having friends or other teens in the car can be a distraction as well. However, it is also good to never drive alone to far places.

Teen driving is a major issue in every state. “Southeastern states have the worst for teen driving deaths due to large rural areas”(Truant 1). There are more people in these rural areas, which means more people on the highways and more accidents. “More miles are driven by teens and greater distances to trauma centers”(Truant 1). More miles are being driven to trauma centers because teens feel that they are expert drivers. “Traffic accidents account for 44 percent of all teen deaths”(Truant 2). Most teens do not pay attention to the roads while they are in traffic. Teens think that texting and driving is okay while on the highway or in any traffic. You always suppose to pay attention to your surroundings and know what is happening around you. Teens tend to sometimes not look at the road when traffic is backed up or there has been an accident that causes them to hit someone’s bumper. “Some states have minimum driver training and driving curfews”(Truant 2).

Late-Night Risks and Substance Abuse: How Curfews and Supervision Could Save Teen Lives

These states should have more things like this to decrease the number of accidents. If people take these classes and actually follow the rules, we would still have our teen drivers alive. “Having a curfew will have teens in the house at a time before the drinking and drugs start being passed around”(Truant 2). Drinking or doing drugs is in style now, so teens feel as though they need to do these things to fit in with everyone. These two things are the main reason teens are killed in car crashes. “Drivers younger than 18 should be restricted from unsupervised driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.”(Truant 3). 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. are dangerous times to be driving for teens, especially if they are alone. These hours of the night are when most teens have accidents. When a teen has to go out during these hours, an adult or anyone should be with them in case of an emergency. “The presence of drugs and/or alcohol can cause not paying attention to the road”(Truant 3). Being drunk or high can have teens not as focused as they need to be. Most accidents are because of teens not paying attention to the road and letting every little distract them while they are diving. Having alcohol in your system can cause you to get sleepy, dizzy, and can’t see, and you could even pass out from being so drunk.

The Road Not Taken Tone: The Cost of Immaturity and Disregard for Laws Among Teen Drivers

There are lots of danger that comes with driving. “Immaturity and inexperience add up to disaster for many teen drivers”(Savage 1). Most teens are immature when it comes to driving, especially teenage boys. Boys think that driving fast and racing with other people on dangerous roads will make them cool. Girls are more inexperienced when it comes to driving because we don’t get as much driving as we should. “26% of young drivers killed in crashes have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher”(Savage 4). The teens go to parties and try to keep up with their friends and do what they are doing. Most of these teens are not designated to drive when they do these things, such as drink or smoke. “A 2003 Illinois law prohibits teens under 18 from driving with more than one passenger under age 20”(Savage 3).

Teens do not care about these laws that protect a lot of other people. When teens are having fun, they tend to get outraged by it. “In 2001, car wrecks involving teen drivers cost taxpayers $42.3 billion for emergency services”(Savage 1). The more teens have accidents. The more taxpayers have to spend. Accidents are very costly, and most teens do not understand that. Medical cost is also very expensive; it is more than you would expect it to be. “Most teens and some adults can be very traumatized by a serious accident” (Savage 2). Being an accident takes a toll on the physical and mental health of a person. Accidents change a person into someone they thought they would never be. “ The group recommends an intermediate phase that lasts until age 18 and includes a restriction on driving after 9 or 10 p.m.” (Savage 2).

Supervised Nighttime Driving: Balancing Freedom and Safety in Teen Driving Restrictions

This makes sure that underage drivers are not all hours of the night. Setting the restriction gives teen drivers enough time to go out and do what they need and still have enough time to make it home safely. In some states, they have their own set restrictions on teen drivers. For example, “ North Carolina teens must be off the roads from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.” ( Savage 2). Certain states take pride in setting a restriction on their teens to keep them safe from drunk drivers and night critters. “For teens, the license to drive is the key to freedom” (Savage 1). Once you get that piece of plastic, it feels like you have the key to the world. You have no restrictions, and that is when the foundation that your parents instilled comes into play. “Nighttime driving restrictions are not meant to be curfews, but to encourage supervised driving” (Savage 2).

Nothing is open past 10 p.m., but trouble. Plus, parents need to be more aware of what their children are doing. “Restrictions that allow teens to drive at night with supervision lower the number of crashes”( Savage 2). When there is supervision, you have a whole other set of eyes watching the road for you. When there is someone extra in the car, the passenger might see something that you do not. “Three or more passengers increase the risk of a wreck by four times”(Savage 3). For example, having all your friends with you and you all are going on a road and all of a sudden they start blasting the music and dancing in the car. Then, you lose focus on the road and have an accident.” Other teens can distract you from paying attention or turn the music up really loud”(Savage 6). It is always a risk to have friends in a vehicle.

Outline Example on Texting While Driving: The Dangers of Inexperience, Recklessness, and the Heartbreaking Toll on Families

However, the key thing is to remember that you are driving for yourself and others too. “The bill would have prohibited drivers under eighteen from transporting any teen passengers during the first six months of their licenses”(Savage 3). Not having other teens in the car for the first six months gives the teen an opportunity to adjust to the road and be on their own. “Immaturity and inexperience add up to disaster for many teen drivers” (Savage 1). If you do not have confidence behind the wheel, it shows in your driving, and that is how some teens end up in accidents. “ It is another kind of freedom for parents, but it is also sleepless nights waiting for a young driver to come home”(Savage 1). Parents always want to protect their children, but once they start driving, it becomes out of their control. Parents worrying will never end; just add it to the list of things they worry about constantly. “Each year, 6,000 teens don’t come home, and their parents receive the dreaded phone call telling them that their child has been killed in a crash”(Savage 1).

No parent should have to receive that phone call saying their child has been killed in a car accident. The number of teens being killed each year in car crashes is ridiculous. “Teens are more likely to speed and tailgate and less likely to wear a seatbelt than older drivers”(Savage 1). Teen drivers are new to the road and don’t know half the stuff older drivers do. Older drivers are more experienced and have been driving longer than teens nowadays. Speeding is something all teens do to try to show off and get attention from other people to make them seem cool. Tailgating is very dangerous because others can throw on the brakes, and it would cause you to hit their bumper. Not wearing a seatbelt is a good thing and a bad thing. Wearing a seatbelt is good because it stops someone from getting thrown out of a window, but it is bad because it can keep you from getting out of a burning car if the seatbelt is stuck.

Distracted by Devices: The Prevalence and Consequences of Texting While Driving Among Teens

Distracted driving is a dangerous thing. Being distracted while driving is one of the main causes of teen deaths. “A flurry text of text messages and phone calls were sent on the teen’s cell phone before the accident”(Sundeen 1). This justifies that teens text, call, and do everything else while they are driving. There are lots of commercials about teens texting and driving, and they still don’t listen. “Experts estimate that as many as 73% of drivers use their cell phones”(Sundeen 2). This is true; if you watch a teen as they drive off or at a red light, they are on their cell phones like it’s going somewhere. 73% is a lot of people, and that number should be cut in half or even lower. “In 2001, when New York passed its total ban on using hand-held devices, a million people have been ticketed”(Sundeen 2).

Banning the use of these devices still hasn’t stopped everyone from using them while driving. Even though people have been ticketed, it still hasn’t changed the fact that they do it. “Lawmakers in every state have considered some sort of restriction on cell phones in the car”(Sundeen 2). Lawmakers have considered it but haven’t pushed through with it. If they actually put the plan into place, maybe it would make a difference. All political people do not care what happens to others as long as they are okay. “66% of drivers aged 18 through 24 use wireless devices to send or receive text messages while driving”(Sundeen 3).

Texting Behind the Wheel: A Look at the Risks and Restrictions for Drivers

Nothing is that important that a person has to text while they are driving. If it is an emergency, they can pull over and do whatever they need to do, then get back on the highway. “It is estimated that wireless subscribers send approximately 158 billion text messages in the united states each year”(Sundeen 3). There is no way people can send this many text messages in 1 year without texting and driving. “Phones and any other electronic devices should be silenced until you reach your destination”(Sundeen 2). Silencing your phone can make a big difference when it comes to driving. It would decrease the number of car accidents, and you won’t be so anxious to text the person back. There is no good enough reason for a person to text and drive. “State laws most often include limits on nighttime driving and restrictions on the number of unrelated passengers allowed in the car”(Sundeen 1). Having a car full of friends can distract you the most. Friends tend to get loud and have the music blasting. These restrictions are good for people that like to have their friends with them at all hours of the night. Not only does it put you in danger, but it puts everyone in the car in danger.

Risking Safety: The Fatal Choices of Inexperienced Teen Drivers and the Importance of Seatbelts

Inexperienced teen drivers too often take fatal risks. Teens want to do risky things just to have something to brag about so that they can become popular. Teens nowadays think that wearing a seatbelt is safer but uncool. “Hollister had a year of driving experience under his belt but was traveling a little too fast for the unfamiliar road”(Savage 1). It does not matter how many times you have driven or how much experience you have; driving on the road you do not normally drive on is very dangerous. This is a risk that teens tend to take all the time and think it is okay to do. “Practice a zero-tolerance policy: No belt equals no driving for every passenger in the car”(Elder 5). If a teen cannot wear their seatbelt, then they do not need to be driving, and this is something teens should be taught when they are first learning how to drive. “Putting on a simple seatbelt takes just seconds and reduces the possibility of dying in a car crash by 45%”(Elder 5). This decreases dying by almost 50%, and that is pretty high for me. That should encourage teens to wear a seatbelt to decrease death rates. Most young drivers think it is unnecessary to wear a seatbelt.

The Dangerous Learning Curve: Why Age Matters in Teen Driving and the Unseen Risks of Inexperience

Age matters when it comes to driving. “16 years old drivers have a crash rate three times higher than 17-year-old drivers and five times greater than 18-year-olds”(Savage 4). 16-year old, chances are higher because they are just learning how to drive and can’t do it as well as 17 or 18-year-olds. They may feel that they can, and they will get cocky, and that is what causes a lot of car crashes. “Research over the years has shown that the teen brain isn’t fully developed and learning dangerous tasks like driving can take years of practice”(Savage 3). Most teens think they know how to drive just because they have mastered it, but that is not true. Driving is a dangerous task, and no, our brain is not developed enough to take on this type of thing. “Nearly 78,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers”(Savage 4). There are a lot of people that have lost their lives due to teen driving. Two hundred thirteen people a day lose their lives because of teen driving. “Teens wouldn’t notice danger like someone who has been driving for years”(Savage 1). Adults would know how to react in dangerous situations when driving. Teens would get scared when dangerous situations occur when they are driving; that is what would cause them to wreck because of fear.

Teen driving is very dangerous, and most teens don’t understand that. Teens feel just because they can drive that, they are experts, and no one can tell that there is room for improvement. Young drivers never learn until they are in an accident and feel like they should have listened when they had the chance. Some teens get the opportunity to live and learn from their mistakes, but most don’t. Teens must learn that they are not always in the right when it comes to important stuff like this.


  1. Savage, A. “Title of the Article.” Journal Name Volume, no. Issue (Year): Page Range.
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Texting and Driving: The Teen Tragedy in America. (2023, Aug 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/texting-and-driving-the-teen-tragedy-in-america/