In the local winning entry in a statewide opinion writing contest for teens addressing the topic of teenage texting while driving, Climax Springs student Jenna Obenauer writes, "Not paying attention to the road instantly makes you a danger."

*Editor’s Note: This opinion was the lake area’s winning entry in a statewide opinion writing contest for teens addressing the topic of teenage texting while driving.

Texting and driving isn’t the right thing to do. While you’re messaging your friend, planning your evening, someone either around you or even on the other side of the country is in a crash due to texting while driving. Does the message really count if you end up doing un-reversible damage?

If you text and drive, you’re not only endangering your life. You also endanger anyone around you. Not paying attention to the road instantly makes you a danger. When you text and drive, you’re more likely to pay more attention to your phone than things around you. This can lead to your death, or to someone innocent.

Imagine if you killed someone because you were being irresponsible. That person could have kids, or may have been getting ready to. Now, their family is grieving over the death of a loved one. Living with that guilt isn’t going to be fun. You’ll be stuck thinking “Oh, if I wouldn’t have texted him/her, that person would still be alive. They’d be with who they love, not gone forever.” That person is now not going to finish school, go to college, have kids, and live life to the fullest because the opportunity was yanked away from them. This problem will haunt you for the rest of your lifetime.

You could also hurt yourself. If you crash, you’re going to get hurt. Now you have to pay medical expenses. Then you have to buy a new car or fix your old one. There goes all your money down the drain, just because you took those ten seconds to reply. Instead of being able to buy what you want, you have to pay bills because of that one mistake.

Trouble. Most likely, parents are not going to be happy with you after totaling your car. I’m sure that you don’t want to disappoint your parents, right? Now that you don’t have a car, they have to take you everywhere. Once you get your car fixed, if you can, you won’t be going to any parties anytime soon. This could cost you friends too. If you can’t go to anything, who would want to stay home with you while everyone else is out at the movies?

Tell your friends that you don’t think texting and driving is right. Maybe you can get them to stop doing it too. If a friend wants you to ride with them and they text, say no. This very simple word would decide your fate. If they aren’t okay with not texting, don’t get in the car. Just because they’re your friend, doesn’t mean something bad won’t happen.

All it takes is a few clicks of your mouse. Then, you can drive safely from then on. By doing this, you can save your life, your friends lives’, and other citizens’. Take the pledge to never text and drive at Spread the word to family members too. Have them take the pledge. Make sure that everyone you know doesn’t text and drive. It can wait.