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Keep the drive
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Ah, the joys of being a teenager; the freedom of finally having your license and your own car, being able to go wherever you want, when you want (to a certain extent). For the most part, our teenage years are probably the most memorable and exciting years we will have. Never again will we be able to experience being "sweet 16" or our senior year. But the truth is that everyday, teens are taking too many risks with their freedom and losing their lives because of it.

Too often teens pick up the phone to text while they are driving, thinking nothing of it. And most people wouldn't (and don't) consider texting and driving a big deal. After all you're just, "replying real quickly," right? No harm done, right? Wrong. The fact is that every day 11 teenagers die from car accidents. Can you imagine going into your high school and not seeing 11 of your friends? Eelven.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one- fifth of fatalities caused by crashes involve teen drivers. And in 2008 6,000 people died from car crashes where the driver was using a cell phone. So to make a long story short, as teens, we are not a part of the better half of the statistics.

When teens drive, they have this sense of empowerment and at the same time feel that they must prove themselves to everyone that they are "skilled drivers."
Is it really worth impressing your friends with your fancy driving and multi- tasking at the wheel, when the facts are that texting and driving puts you on the road to death? Yes, you may say, "Why should I be worried about a little text message? At least I'm not drinking." Well the truth is that if it kills you, what difference will it make if you were drinking, smoking or texting? You're dead. The truth is that if you're the one responsible for killing your best friend, you are still going to feel just as horrible. The truth is that the person dead is not going to care whether or not you had to text whoever back. It won't matter, and it isn't worth it.

In 2006, 62 percent of teenage passenger deaths occurred in vehicles driven by other teenagers, and among all deaths of all passengers, 20 percent occurred when a teen was driving (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.) Yes, we have these freedoms, and, yes, being a teen is fun and exciting, but with great freedom yes, comes great responsibility. Corny, but true. Driving a motor vehicle means that you are operating a deadly machine and you are responsible for not only the people in your car, but all the cars around you. As teenagers, we need to step up and change the way we drive and stop taking risks with our teenage years. I'm sure your boyfriend can wait for that reply, because if not, he might be waiting... forever.

Zakkiyya Anderson is a student at Rockdale County High School.