Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that texting and driving is becoming a huge national problem, and propose a policy change to rectify the situation
Thesis: Texting and driving is one of the nations leading causes of car crashes. While there are some laws in effect, people whom text and drive need to be held more accountable. While there is no simple solution, there are further steps that need to be done in order to ultimately resolve this issue.
Pattern of Organization: Problem/Cause/Solution
I. I’m going to make an assumption real quick and say that of the 23 students in this classroom, 70 percent of us are guilty of a DWI. A. Now, before ya’ll awkwardly stare at me and shake your heads, let it be known that: 1. In this statistic, I am not talking about Driving While Impaired or Intoxicated, but rather Driving While Intexicated. 2. According to www.textinganddrivingsafety.com, in 2011, 23% of automobile collisions involved cell phone use. B. I am a strong believer that if something can be prevented, it should be. II. Texting and driving is something that can be 100 percent prevented; yet this topic has endless statistics proving otherwise. A. This issue doesn’t just involve teens, this issue is wide-spread including adults B. As a result of this issue, people are getting injured, cars are being damaged, and in some cases, families are losing loved ones. III. As a relatively young driver, I see this issue on a day-to-day basis. A. I always knew this was a problem that needed fixing, but it never really hit me until I had a friend injured in a really bad car accident by a student who was texting and driving. IV. As I’ve stated before, texting and driving is one of the nations leading causes of car crashes. While there are some laws in effect, people whom text and drive need to be held more accountable. While there is no simple solution, there are further steps that need to be done in order to ultimately resolve this issue. A. Texting and driven can be prevented, and instead of using enforcement after the fact, we should be using preventative enforcement. B. While this is a National issue, I will lay out a plan that addresses the problems on a state level.
I will now go into the most important aspects of this perplexing issue and present a plan for instigating the much-needed change.
I. There is data everywhere suggesting that texting and driving is dangerous and detrimental to our society. A. According to a fact from http://stoptextsstopwrecks.org/, In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashed that were reported to have involved distracted driving (2009, FARS and GES). 1. While that number may not seem striking over the course of a year, it is when you remember that 5,474 people could still be alive if someone would have put down their phone while driving. 2. Distracted driving endangers life and property and the current levels of injury and loss are unacceptable B. When you go out for a night out on the town, and decide to have more beers than expected, there comes a decision of if you want to risk the consequences of driving under the influence. 1. This risk, if caught can come with hefty fines, community service, and even jail fines. 2. Why does this instance of distracted while driving come with such intense reprimands when in reality texting and driving is just as dangerous? C. According to the University of Utah, using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s handheld or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent (2009, University of Utah).
1. It seems that the reality of the situation is that unless there are strict consequences regarding the issue of texting and driving, it will continue to remain the same.
2. A study done in 2009, conducted by Car and Driver magazine shows just how dangerous it is to text behind the wheel. Here are some striking statistics showing that of all things, the most dangerous has the smallest consequence, if any. a. Editor of Car and Driver magazine, Eddie Alterman took the test drive on a deserted airstrip going 70 mph. After rigging a car with a red light telling the driver when to brake, these were his results: - Unimpaired: 54 seconds to brake after the red light
-Drunk at the legal limit (.08): add 4 feet
-E-mail: add 36 feet
-Texting: add 70 feet (www.cnbc.com)
3. People see these statistics, and see news of people dying related to texting behind the wheel yet there continues to be no change in behavior.
In this instance, the problem and the cause are one in the same. I recognize that this issue is very over-reiterated, and if the solution were simple it would already be in place. But I also believe that there are steps we can take to turn things around.
II. The plan that I propose would occur on a state level, and eventually my hope is that it would catch on with other states and go nationally. A. The reason for this is that while the problem is a national one, texting and driving laws typically vary on a state-to-state basis. I believe if we can start here, problems can be turned in to solutions eventually. B. I propose that the laws of texting and driving be upgraded and treated like the laws of driving under the influence. It would have three, primary features: 1. The state would enforce the same consequences that currently reside for the law of driving under the influence. Ranging from hefty fines to possible jail time depending on the situation 2. Offenders would have to go on a certain, more expensive insurance. If the offender gets in to an accident, the insurance will cover zero parts. 3. Like DUI offenders have an interlock system they have to blow in to before they can drive, Texting offenders will have to install the Safetexting application, which locks the phone down while driving. C. The plan would need to be mandated by the federal government, but then it would be up to the individual states to rewrite their legislation. D. The funding for this proposal will come from a reallocation of funds, since money already exists from multiple organizations. E. Ideally, I wish for change to be brought about immediately, yet realistically it would take years for the states to establish a new system.
Now that I’ve described my plan to solve the problem of texting and driving, I’d like to tell you why this plan will work.
A. My plan would ensure that every person on the roadway is better protected from people who decide to text and drive. 1. Multiple organizations including big business AT&T, have already pushed for stricter laws in all 50 states. a. According to www.drivinglaws.org/colorado, in Colorado, texting and driving is a primary law, meaning a police officer can pull you over if they suspect you were using your cell phone. b. If caught, the first offense fine is only $50.
2. In 2008, you may recall the news of Erica Forney’s death. According to the Denver Post, 9-year-old Erica Forney, who died on Thanksgiving after being struck by a 36-year-old driver distracted by a cellphone call a. In hopes that no more lives get claimed from texting and driving, drivers need to be held more accountable for their actions and should be reprimanded more intensely. B. [Counterarguments] The major counter-argument to my plan come from those people who think they should have the personal choice to use cell phones or not. 1. According to http://susiieeq123.weebly.com/counterarguments.html, since each driver recognizes the potential dangers they could involve themselves with if they chose to text and drive; a law should not dictate a ban on texting and driving behind the wheel. a. For these people, it is hard for them to break out of their already bad habits. 2. From the website stated above, http://susiieeq123.weebly.com/counterarguments.html, Laws against texting and driving are too difficult to enforce. -It is too difficult for police to tell what a driver is doing in their car as they pass. -Texting could be mistaken for doing another distraction while driving, such as turning the radio station. -Good in theory, but making texting and driving illegal may not seem practical to all.
C. [Advantages vs. Disadvantages] The advantage to placing stronger enforcement to all drivers who text will allow a more secure and safe feeling when out on the roads. However, there are a few disadvantages to my plan. 1. One disadvantage is that it will be hard for law enforcement to prove that the driver was texting, and so it would be hard to enforce heavy fines without 100 percent proof. a. It is easy to prove that a driver was driving drunk because of field sobriety tests and breathalyzers, but besides cameras in police cars, there is no other way to prove.
I. The problems facing the roadways with people who text and drive are numerous. The issue that I have discussed today plays a central role in the solutions for those problems. II. As the current laws of texting and driving stand in the state of Colorado, people are continuously going against them. A. We need to ensure that all people on the streets are better protected from those who text and drive. B. I propose that stricter laws are enforced at the state level, in hopes we can set a better example for the remaining states. C. There will be no tax increase, just a shift of funds to help enforce these new laws.
In closing, I ask that the next time your phone beeps while driving, remember those whose lives have been lost to a simple text.
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"Colorado criminalizes texting, tweeting while driving." - The Denver Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. .
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"Featured Video: Stairs." Texting and Driving Prevention.. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. .
"Texting And Driving Worse Than Drinking and Driving." CNBC.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. .
"Texting and Driving Statistics." Texting and Driving Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. .