First Place 2024: Morgan Pride

Morgan Pride

About Morgan

Morgan is a senior at Lee High School. She is passionate about helping others. Morgan will be attending Auburn University this fall where she plans to pursue a degree in Nursing. She is involved in several extracurricular activities, including the Media Arts Magnet Program, Varsity Basketball Team, Magnet Ambassador Program, Beta Club, and National Honor Society.

Distracted Driving Essay

Did you know that using cell phones while driving causes 1.6 million accidents every year, according to the National Safety Council? Texting and driving significantly raises the risk of being involved in a car accident. It only takes one second of looking at your phone to change your life, so any distractions should be avoided while driving. Despite the known risks, many continue to engage in this risky behavior, leading to avoidable accidents and tragic consequences. That is why the community must take measures to educate young drivers about the dangers of texting and driving to prevent accidents.

Statistics reveal alarming trends concerning texting and driving accidents among young drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving, including texting, “3,521 people were killed and an estimated additional 362,415 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers” in 2021. It is a known fact that drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 years old have the highest involvement in fatal crashes of any age group. Some common reasons why young drivers engage in texting while driving may be that they are influenced by a friend or family member, addicted to technology, and simply the feeling of being “invincible”. The consequences of texting while driving are severe and can result in injuries, loss of life, and legal action.

Community engagement will be crucial in raising awareness and driving behavioral change. However, support from peers, parents, and others will also be necessary. Educational programs are essential for promoting awareness among young drivers because they are at school every day. These educational programs could include impactful statistics on texting and driving, hands-on activities, local speakers, and even school-based campaigns. Hosting events to raise awareness among young drivers about responsible and safe driving and encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions on the road can establish a culture of responsible driving. Parental involvement will also be a crucial factor in helping. Parents can first start by leading by example and engaging in honest discussions with their teen drivers about the significance of safe driving.
When teenagers observe their parents practicing safe driving habits, such as wearing a seatbelt, obeying speed limits, and avoiding distractions while driving, they are more likely to develop these habits. This is because parents are role models for their children, and their behavior can have a powerful influence on their attitudes and actions. By demonstrating responsible and safe driving practices, parents can help instill good habits in their teenage children and encourage safer driving behaviors on the road.

Using modern technology can effectively promote safe driving habits among young drivers. Since teenagers are already drawn to their phones, an app created to encourage safe driving among teens would be a perfect solution. These apps can include automated responses so that one doesn’t have to get on their phone while driving to respond to a text, distraction
prevention where the phone disables messaging while driving, GPS tracking to monitor speed while driving, rewards for practicing good driving habits, parental controls that enable parents to monitor their teen’s driving behavior, educational resources that give resources and tips for safe driving, and lastly emergency assistance that allows a parent or teen to contact help when needed. Additionally, by having technology in vehicles such as hands-free and voice-activated systems, teens can minimize distractions and create a safer driving environment.

Working together with local businesses and organizations can strengthen the efforts to spread awareness of texting and driving among teen drivers. Collaborating with law enforcement agencies can improve enforcement efforts and increase awareness for teens. Businesses can sponsor campaigns and events to bring awareness towards safe driving for teens. Partnering with local businesses can increase teen engagement with lessons taught by their favorite businesses. With the unity of local businesses and organizations, we can create a positive environment where teenagers can work together towards a shared goal: safer driving.

Lastly, we need to encourage teen drivers to be responsible. When we empower individuals to take ownership of their actions on the road, we can create a culture of accountability. In paragraph 3, we discussed providing educational resources for teen drivers. One effective method is to offer support and resources that promote accountability. For example, teen drivers can attend programs designed for peers that teach about the importance of accountability and encourage it among their peers and family. This approach can ultimately empower teen drivers to make safe choices, which is the ultimate goal.

These strategies will require ongoing evaluation and revision to effectively prevent texting while driving. We can do this by establishing checkpoints that involve surveys and focus groups that give feedback from participants such as parents and teen drivers. It will take a whole community for this plan to work. By gathering information from young drivers, parents,
educators, and law enforcement officials, we can identify areas that need improvement, and with this new information, we can make progress to help better ensure a safer environment for teen drivers.

In conclusion, we know that addressing the issue of texting and driving among young drivers is important to providing safety while driving. Through a variety of helpful sources such as education, peer influence, parental involvement, technological innovation, and community partnerships, we effectively communicate that texting and driving results in preventable and
severe accidents. By encouraging a culture of reliable driving practices, and supporting for tougher laws, and technological solutions, we can empower young drivers to make smarter decisions when it comes to driving. It is up to us as a community to take these measures in order to ensure a safer driving environment for everyone around. As this comes to an end, let us unite with one another in order to prioritize road safety, educate our youth drivers, and create a future where every voyage is free from the dangers of distracted drivers. Together we can make a difference and save lives.