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5 of the Most Common Excuses to Text

and Drive

Texting and driving is a very important topic in a world in which it’s often difficult to find a

teenager not on his or her phone. The National Safety Council estimates that at least 1.6 million crashes each year (about 28% of all traffic accidents) and thousands of fatalities can be attributed to drivers who are distracted by cell phone use, with estimates indicating that as many as 200,000 of these accidents are due specifically to texting-while-driving incidents. That’s kind of a lot of people. And as a teenager myself, I’ve heard all of the excuses as to why people text and drive regardless of the dangers. Here are some of them.

1) “It’s not a serious issue if you don’t crash.”

To date, 41 states in the US have passed legislation banning texting while driving. And the other 9 states? They have signed partial bans and restrictions. Therefore, in the US, no matter how good of a driver you are, how important the text is, or even how slick you are in hiding it, texting and driving is still illegal. Just because you don’t get caught doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to do it.

5 of the Most Common Excuses to Text and Drive Texting and driving is a very

2) Texting and driving is not as bad as drunk driving. At least I don’t drink and drive.”

We all know to never drink and driver because drunk driving is something that is actually life- threatening, right? Well, reports suggest that using a cell phone while driving delays drivers’

reactions as much as having a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit of .08%. Basically,

don’t do either.

3) “It’s not even that distracting .” Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that brain activity

3) “It’s not even that distracting.”

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that brain activity related to driving decreases by 37% when using a cell phone. Let’s assume you give 100% attentiveness to driving. Pulling out that phone automatically puts you at 63%. 63% is a D, and it’s closer to an F than a C. Almost automatically, you fail. Congrats.

3) “It’s not even that distracting .” Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that brain activity

4) Everyone does it anyway.”

Wait. But lots of people do text and drive. Research (and by research, I mean a normal survey) indicates that as many as 75% or more of drivers report in distracted driving behaviors. So if nothing gets done, you better hope that all the drivers part of that 75% are one block over, or else you’re a goner. But yes, this statement is actually true.

5) “ I won’t get into an accident while texting and driving because I’m a good

5) I won’t get into an accident while texting and driving because I’m a good driver.”

Teenagers and young adults often believe they are invincible, and thus, tend to engage in dangerous behaviors without considering the inherent risks. Teenagers these days are savages.

Bicycle… no helmet. iPhone… no case. PB&J… with crust. Like slow down there, gangster. And let’s

be honest, they probably believe that their driving “skills” won’t be affected when they text.

Studies show that younger drivers who retrieve or send text messages are 4x more likely to be in

an accident serious enough to injure themselves and/or others. Just because you’re a good texter or driver doesn’t mean you aren’t impaired while texting and driving, even if you do live like these hardcore teenagers.

5) “ I won’t get into an accident while texting and driving because I’m a good

So there are just some of the many excuses used to defend someone’s act of texting and driving. I hope

this was interesting enough to read. However, though written in a playful manner, this issue is VERY serious. While 80% of young drivers agreed that texting while driving is dangerous, about one-third of them admitted to doing so in the past month. It is imperative that the number of driver who text simultaneously lowers. Extant research indicates that persuasive messages that focus on fear, especially

the fear of one’s own death, may be especially effective at altering individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. Therefore, to conclude, it only takes one accident to cause a death. If you do text and drive, the consequence will eventually come, and you or another WILL die.

So there are just some of the many excuses used to defend someone’s act of texting

No, but seriously. Don’t text and drive.

(Applause)

>> Oprah: Hello! Wow! Yes! I FEEL GREAT! Yes! Hello!! We have a great show for you todaaaaay!! Speaking of a great show, the television series Friends was one of the all-time greatest. One of the main characters, comic Chandler Bing, is played by Matthew Perry, and we have Matthew Perry in tomorrow’s Oprah!!

(Cheering)

So let’s get through this show to get to that one. But FIRST girlfriend, let me start off on serious note. You know every day, I get thousands and thousands of letters… and girlfriend I don’t read any of them. HOWEVER, my assistant does, and he found one that was very touching. Let’s hear it.

>> Monitor: “Dear Oprah, I lost my son a couple years ago in a car accident because he was texting and driving. Since then, I have been campaigning to increase awareness in the dangers of texting while driving,

especially among teenagers. I was hoping I can come on the show and spread my views. You have been such an inspiration in my life because of the way you change the world for the better. I just want to do

the same.” >> Oprah: Wow. Just Wow. How bout we bring him out? INTRODUCINGIoannis Kareklas! (Applause)

Now… Ioannis. I’m very sorry for your son, but I’ve got something that will make you smile. We have Matthew Perry on tomorrow’s show!!!

(Cheering)

>> Ioannis: Thank you, Oprah. Before I begin, let me start off by saying that you give me so much motivation every morning I wake up. You… are my Hope-rah.

>> Oprah: I already know that…

>> Ioannis: Okay, here we go. Texting and driving has become a very prominent issue in today’s world. Text-messaging has been shown to be associated with the highest level of potential distraction. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that brain activity related to driving decreases by 37% when using a cell phone.

>> Oprah: And THAT is why I hire a chauffeur, people.

>> Ioannis: The National Safety Council estimates that at least 1.6 million crashes each year and thousands of fatalities can be attributed to drivers who are distracted by cell phone use, with conservative estimates indicating that as many as 200,000 of these accidents are due specifically to texting-while-driving incidents. Despite these reported dangers, research indicates that as many as 75% or more of drivers report engaging in distracted driving behaviors. However, while 80% of young drivers agreed that texting while driving is dangerous, about one-third of them admitted to doing so in the past month.

>> Oprah: Wow. That is alarming, people. Now as you mentioned, most people are aware of the potential dangers of texting while driving, yet people still continue to text while driving. Why is that?

>> Ioannis: Well for one, young drivers tend to believe that texting-related traffic accidents and even death

may occur to others, but will not happen to them. That is because they don’t understand the seriousness

of the issue. And while this issue has garnered considerable national attention through the likes of the

National Safety Council’s tagline “One text or call could wreck it all” or AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign,

none of them have been deemed effective. In fact, in an experiment that observes test subjects after viewing PSAs designed to discourage distracted driving behaviors, participants reported a greater likelihood of engaging in unsafe practices. The authors suggested that the low/moderate level of fear used in their experiment was perhaps not great enough to produce the anticipated results.

>> Oprah: Astonishing. Absolutely astonishing. So even though people are aware of the issue, and ads are created to stop the problem, texting while driving continues.

>> Ioannis: Precisely. Ads that don’t scare the teenagers away from texting while driving are perceived as ineffective, because teenagers aren’t afraid of the consequences. They don’t take the issue seriously.

>> Oprah: So what do we do to convey the message to the youth drivers?

>> Ioannis: Like I said, their findings indicated that fear through graphic content and fear arousal, perceived threat or likelihood and severity of consequences, and perceived efficacy were among the most influential predictors of the effectiveness of the fear-based appeals. Thus, these anti-texting-while-driving campaigns need to scare the youth drivers. We need them to believe that death can actually happen to them. It is a real consequence. That’s why I am campaigning to create a graphic PSA intended for this issue.

>> Oprah: Wow. That is a noble cause. Wow. Yet, wouldn’t many parents not approve of their kids viewing a graphic PSA?

>> Ioannis: Yes, the gruesome effects may be unwanted. However, I believe that the graphicness is necessary to end this issue. No text is worth a life.

>> Oprah: My heart really goes out to you. So I’m going to give you… the Oprah Hookup!!!

(Cheering)

Well, to create a commercial, you are going to need a cast… camera equipment… airtime… and lots, and

lots, of cash. >> Ioannis: (crying) Thank you Oprah!

>> Oprah: So good luck with that! But what I’m going to give you is a lady’s cashmere scarf from Burberry’s!!

(Cheering)

From my favorite things collection in this month’s O Magazine!! Everyone look under your seat! Yes, every single one of you gets one too! Thank you, Ioannis, for coming on my show and I’ll see YOU after this commercial break!! YES!!

(Applause)

Mitchell Kim March 1, 2015 Writing 2 Z. De Piero

Writing Project 3: From One Genre to Another

Converting pieces into different genres can reveal the idea that no piece is limited to its

respective genre. To demonstrate this, I have translated a scholarly article into two different

genres, each tailored to its own audience. The first piece is aimed towards the younger

generation and is in the form of a Buzzfeed list. Buzzfeed is an internet news media company that

provides coverage mostly on social issues. The authors often convey their ideas through the use

of lists, which I hope to imitate in the first translation. The genre of the second essay is a

transcript for a popular TV show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, in which Oprah Winfrey is

interviewing the author of the scholarly article. This genre targets the older generation, or more

specifically, the moms. Both of these genres, though aimed towards different audiences, still

incorporate aspects of the scholarly article. By manipulating the conventions and rhetorical

features, the context and purpose of the scholarly article remains relevant in both translated

genres.

The scholarly article I have chosen to use is Ioannis Kareklas’s “Addressing the Texting and

Driving Epidemic: Mortality Salience Priming Effects on Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions.”

Kareklas explains the issue that is texting while driving and the effectiveness of public service

announcements (PSAs). An experiment was conducted as to whether PSAs are actually effective

or not, and Kareklas found that PSAs are only effective when fear is the main element of it. As

mentioned before, this article was converted into a Buzzfeed list and a transcript for The Oprah

Winfrey show. The next couple paragraphs will show what I did to translate to the new genre, as

well as why I did those moves.

To remodel the article into a Buzzfeed list, I must adhere to the conventions of Buzzfeed

articles. Therefore, throughout writing the piece, to mirror it, I often referenced real articles from

the website. First off, the title follows the style of the selected genre. Many of the titles of

Buzzfeed lists are structured in a way such that a number of reasons is followed by the topic. In

my case, I follow the same structure, and use “excuses” because these excuses may be relatable

and relevant to a teenager’s life. Thus, one may be inclined to read the list. In addition, many of

the words are bolded, italicized, or enlarged to make for easier reading, especially when

compared to the tedious text of a scholarly article. These changes in text provide variety and

captivate the reader’s attention. Lastly, like many Buzzfeed articles, I conjoin a meme to each

reason that’ll stimulate laughter from a teenager, hoping that The Joker or Mr. T will suffice. All

of these conventions of the genre that are designed to provoke a viewer to read the list and stay

interested I exploit as “moves” in my translation.

In addition to the common surface-area conventions of Buzzfeed lists, I also adopt the

rhetorical features of them, such as the tone and style. All the numbered items in a Buzzfeed list

are each followed by a short description to further prove the logic of the reason. These

descriptions are often short and humorous. Likewise, I number five common misconceptions of

texting while driving and followed them with statistics and why they are indeed false. After

revealing the facts and statistics, I attempt to follow them with an entertaining tone in the voice

of my own (a young adult) that often includes sarcasm and satire, such as comparing the statistics

to a D on a test or mentioning the recklessness of today’s teenagers through three humorous

examples (Bicycle, iPhone, PB&J). Rather than in the tone of a tedious scholarly article, I display

the information by changing the tone to appeal to the younger generation, because the tone

“should engage your audience in a way that will invite them to feel receptive to your message”

(Losh & Alexander). While staying true to the intentions of the scholarly article, I incorporate an

aspect of describing the information that appeals to teenagers. Another rhetorical feature of

Buzzfeed articles is the purpose. Although one may believe that they are created to entertain,

they are also created to promote awareness. I apply this concept by concluding the translation

on a serious note, explaining why texting while driving is a significant issue. Therefore, as well as

adhering to the conventions of Buzzfeed, the generated list embodies the rhetorical features.

The second genre I produce is the transcript of an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show

between Kareklas, the author of the scholarly article, and Oprah, the host. A common convention

found in an interview transcript is the names of the speaker and what they say in the show. In

this case, one can see that Oprah and Kareklas are having a conversation on the topic of texting

and driving as I transform Kareklas from the author of a scholarly article into a victim campaigning

against the dangers of texting while driving. In addition, to further echo the conventions of the

transcript, I add the noises created by the audience when they applaud or cheer. Furthermore, I

added many references to Oprah’s actual show, such as creating the Oprah Hookup and the O

Magazine. The reader can therefore conclude that the structure is that of a transcript of an

interview in The Oprah Winfrey Show.

While writing the transcript, I thought about how I could place the image of the two

actually having a conversation on the show into the mind of the reader. This involved

manipulating the rhetorical features of Oprah herself. Specifically, I change the tone of the

transcript by incorporating some of Oprah’s actual personality, such as her enthusiasm, into the

conversation to make the interview come to life. Emphasizing or repeating certain words like

“Wow” or “YOU” forces the reader to read in a more vigorous voice. To be treated as an interview

on The Oprah Winfrey Show, her emotion and passion must differentiate her talk-show from a

regular interview, so it was vital for me to include it by changing the tone. By “picking words

that… work well with the images around them,” I can influence what I want the reader to visualize

(McCloud). Thus, while considering the choices in word and image, I am able to express Oprah’s

character and change the tone in a manner that will help the reader picture the transcript.

Moreover, by switching the author as a victim, the tone also becomes more serious. Rather than

an author writing an article, a person is campaigning to end an issue. As a result, parents who

watch the show feel a sense of sympathy for a victim who is calling for change. Thus, by

considering its rhetorical features, the scholarly article can easily be translated into anything,

even a transcript for The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Although the issue of texting while driving is presented in a scholarly article, the context

is not limited to that genre. As shown, the article was translated into two genres that are beyond

different: a Buzzfeed list and a transcript of an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The context

stays almost exactly the same in both, yet the change in conventions and rhetorical features

presents the scholarly article in numerous ways. Therefore, no literary work is limited to a specific

genre.