You’re cruising through your writing class just fine. No speed bumps in the road to a decent grade. But then your instructor decides to put up a roadblock—a texting while driving essay.
You screech to a halt.
You weren’t paying attention to how to write essays most effectively and, instead, just wrote whatever came naturally. But you don’t feel so confident with this one—if you don’t get back on course, you’ll crash and burn.
Kind of like this …
People you know probably text while they drive, right? Maybe you even do it yourself. It’s one of those things your teacher doesn’t want students (or anyone else) doing. That’s why your assignment is a texting while driving essay.
I get it … there’s only so much you can say about the subject. It’s bad to do. Everyone knows that. But there are interesting, fresh, and exciting ways to write your texting while driving essay.
I’ll show you how to write your own essay with a little bit of oomph, all with some help from a couple of guys who know about oomph (and how to not be distracted drivers)—Jake and Elwood Blues, better known as the Blues Brothers.
Key Ingredients to a Great Texting While Driving Essay
Before you jump right into writing your essay, it might be helpful to know exactly what will take it to the next level. That way, you can make it awesome from the start and won’t have to rewrite the whole thing.
The first thing to think about is what type of essay it is. Because everyone knows texting while driving is dangerous, it’ll probably be a persuasive essay. That means you must convince your reader not to text and drive.
In rare cases, it might be an argumentative essay in which you have to choose a side for or against texting while driving. But for the purposes of this post, I’m going to assume it’s persuasive.
Like with any persuasive essay, there are three important elements to consider: your audience, your purpose, and the benefits of your position. The best way to flesh these out before writing is with an outline.
For your outline, you’ll want to including space for the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. I’m going to center my example under the assumption that the reason the cop cars in the video above crashed is that they were distracted by their cellphones.
- Hook: Anyone can be a distracted driver, even those who are supposed to protect the public from harm. Texting while driving causes 3,000 teen traffic fatalities every year.
- Thesis Statement: In order to save lives and millions of dollars in property damage, drivers need to leave their phones out of sight.
- Body Paragraph #1
- Define and call out to your audience
- It is the responsibility of all drivers to understand the power they have behind the wheel and that they can easily take a human life or destroy someone else’s property. Texting while driving can cause otherwise smart individuals to become so distracted that they drive their cars into malls and put hundreds of people in danger. (Quick note: You definitely need to see this.)
- Define and call out to your audience
- Body Paragraph #2
- Explain what the reader needs to do
- It’s time for those on the road to put down their cellphones while they are behind the wheel.
- Explain what the reader needs to do
- Body Paragraph #3
- Benefits of your stance
- By ceasing to text while driving, drivers can protect the lives of others and themselves, as well as keep cars and property intact.
- Benefits of your stance
- Drivers can ensure they don’t end up destroying malls and causing 20-car pileups with one simple solution—not texting and driving.
(Note: My example outline is incomplete. Make sure your own outline levels are each divided into at least two parts.)
It’s important to note that the wording of these elements doesn’t have to be final. But you want a general idea of what you’re going to write and to make sure the information is all in the right order.
Check out these example texting while driving essays for inspiration:
The Negative Effects of Texting While Driving
An Introduction to the Issue of Texting and Driving
A Report on Road Accidents Caused by the Use of Cell Phones While Driving
The Negative Effects of the Use of Cellular Phones While Driving
(Note: The above essays vary by format, but they’ll serve as good fodder for finding the angle you want to take in your own texting while driving essay.)
Finding Your Angle
There are a lot of different ways to approach a texting while driving essay—you just have to think outside the box a little. So here are a few angles you could take:
1. Be a little narrative
While this isn’t a narrative essay, it might help the reader understand the severity of the consequences of texting while driving if you include some examples you or someone you know has experienced. You should still avoid first person while writing your essay, but the information makes it more personal.
Example: The police officers could have caught and arrested the Blues Brothers for the many laws they had broken, but the officers were so distracted by their cellphones that they pulled out in front of oncoming traffic and ended up colliding with a semi-truck. Luckily, no one was killed in this instance, but there are many more cases where the people involved aren’t as fortunate.
2. Offer some alternatives
Think about why people text while they drive, and then offer some alternatives that are still suitable solutions to their needs.
Example: Instead of replying to that text, people should have someone else in the car—the deputy, a brother, or a friend—do it for them.
3. Make a dramatic call to action
Don’t make it completely unrealistic, but state what some of the consequences should be for texting while driving.
Example: Anyone who is caught texting while driving should have to pay, at minimum, a $250 fine. If officers or other societal protectors are caught texting while driving, they should be put on suspension or fired if there are multiple offenses.
Some Texting While Driving Thesis Statement Examples
So now that you have an idea about how to write your texting while driving essay, it’s time to get into more of the specifics.
First, you’ll want a strong thesis statement, which is a sentence (or two) in your introduction that explains your position. You need to show you mean business with this statement, so be clear.
Here are a few examples:
Example 1: Because texting while driving is the leading cause of traffic fatalities among teens in the United States, all drivers—teens and adults—should take more responsibility and put the phone down when they are behind the wheel.
Example 2: Parents and older siblings must set good examples for others by not texting and driving.
Example 3: Due to the lack of personal responsibility of most drivers, the government should make newer, harsher laws against texting and driving.
How to Choose Your Sources
As I said before, this is not a narrative essay. This means you’ll need some sources to back up your statements. There are many websites you can visit to get information, such as the CDC, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Texting and Driving Safety website.
The main thing to keep in mind when choosing your sources is whether they’re credible.
This doesn’t mean they have to be a government website or published study (although those are awesome sources!). It just means they have to have some substance to back up what they’re saying.
- Does the information have a bibliography?
- Does it reference or link to published studies?
- Does it link to a credible agency?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you’re almost golden. I say “almost” because the final thing to check is how recent the statistics are. Texting and driving is a growing trend, so statistics from 2013 are already outdated.
For more information on choosing your sources, read How to Apply the CRAAP Test to Your Essay Sources.
Asserting Your Validity
So you have all your ducks in a row, but you’re still not sure if your argument is convincing enough. Will your reader question your position’s validity? Not if you follow a couple of simple rules.
- Rule #1: Don’t waiver. Staying strong in your position shows you are certain about it. That certainty shows the reader you know what you’re talking about.
- Rule #2: Have support to back it up. Show some facts and figures. Quote credible sources. Don’t fill your entire texting while driving essay with numbers, but use enough supportive examples so that no one can question the truth of your statements.
Do you feel a little more ready to write now? Well, good! Get to writing then!
If you finish and want another set of eyes to look it over, send your essay to one of the Kibin editors. They’ll make sure it flows well and make any needed suggestions for changes to ensure it doesn’t end up a mess like this:
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Persuasive Speech Essay
1493 WordsJul 8th, 20126 Pages
Persuasive Speech Outline
A. Topic: Texting and driving is dangerous, weather it has affected you or not.
B. Hook: Did you know that texting while driving is now one of the most popular distractions that take a driver’s eyes off the road?
C. Link to audience: Imagine that someone in your family, your mom, dad, or sibling were to be killed by a driver who was sending a text message. Was that text worth losing someone you love?
D. Thesis statement: Today I will persuade you into thinking that texting while driving is too dangerous.
A. Texting while driving kills people
1. In 2009, 5,474 people in the United States were killed due to texting while driving. This number is an increase to the 3,210 people that…show more content…
Texting while driving injures people
1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that 515,000 people were injured in various car crashes in the United States due to texting. Around 28 percent of all crashes in 2008 were caused by drivers in the age group of 18 and 29, who admitted to texting while driving. (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/texting-while-driving-statistics.html)
2. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. This causes a driver to crash 23x the normal rate. Over 10,000 injuries nationwide due to texting while driving have been reported between 2007-2009. (http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html)
3. Studies show that texting while driving increases your chances of crashing by 20 times. Even using your phone in a hands-free mode is dangerous since it's a "cognitive distraction" which may decrease driving performance. In fact, texting and other distracted driving account for nearly 80% of all automobile accidents. The effects of car accidents can be devastating. Crashes may results in death and catastrophic injuries, including brain injuries, paralysis and severe burns.