GCC English 101: Common Final Assignment for Spring, 2008

Topic: Driving while Texting

Home ~~ Practicing thinking and writing ~~ Documenting sources

The City of Phoenix ordinance that bans driving while texting (DWT) became law on October 19, 2007, and other cities in the Valley are considering similar laws. California passed a state-wide ordinance last fall, as have other states. Insurance companies and other organizations have developed media campaigns targeted at teens about the dangers of driving while texting. A quick search of YouTube produced 37 videos (some amateur and some professional) exploring the dangers of this practice. Watch this segment from Dr. Phil. It seems that everyone except teen drivers agree that driving while texting is dangerous.

The goal of this writing assignment is to develop an argument about driving while texting and to support it with good reasons, evidence and examples drawn from materials you have read. Your documented essay should contain an argumentative thesis, consist of multiple paragraphs, and clearly identify (in proper MLA format) which sources you have used. Effective arguments also recognize the positions of those who hold an opposing viewpoint and refute those positions as part of their argument. The English Department has a rubric for evaluating argumentative essays.

Becoming informed about the topic

You can approach this topic in a number of ways.  What follows are some suggestions that may be familiar to you from other activities you have done in English 101 this semester:

  1. Freewrite for five or ten minutes about your experiences driving while texting.  Have you ever been in an accident because someone was texting while driving? Have you ever been guilty of driving while being distracted by some other activity? Been ticketed/cited? Do you routinely text while you drive? Talk on a cell phone? Why or why not?

  2. Read the article "Confronting Driver Distraction" from the January, 2007 issue of Futurist. (Click on the .pdf link to see the complete article in its original format.) Use the "Find More Like This" link in the citation to find similar articles.

  3. Listen to "Laws Limiting Car-Phone Use Tough to Enforce" by Craig Miller from National Public Radio's Morning Edition, broadcast on August 21, 2007.

  4. Read the attached excerpts we have gathered about distracted driving (Driving&CellPhones.rtf). Distracted driving is making big news currently. You can read up on this topic online. Look for stories and articles in the news also. You can set up a Google Alert for driving while texting so you can receive information about this topic automatically in your email.

  5. Find more information on the subject by searching one of the library databases (collections of full text magazine and newspaper articles found on the library’s periodicals page) at http://www.gc.maricopa.edu/LMC/databases/

  6. Build a questionnaire on this topic. This can be a group effort along with your class members. Distribute copies of the questionnaire to students on campus. Compile the responses to your questions. Summarize the results of your survey on a graph or spreadsheet.

  7. Interview a law officer to see what he/she has to say about this issue. Also, interview members of different age groups [teenagers, adults, retirees, etc.]. Are there any major differences of opinion based on age or gender? Remember that good interviewers take notes.

Page Icon Last updated by Karen Schwalm on August 10, 2008 10/01/07.  Legal Notice.