11 Empty Seats

Samantha G


I wish people knew, I wish they realized how quickly a life can change. One second looking down Two seconds changing the station Three seconds turning on the AC Four seconds looking for a tissue Five seconds checking your phone Six seconds fixing your makeup 6…5…4…3…2…1…………. Its done. They say it can happen to us, That we aren’t invincible. But we are the teens of America, Immune to the dangerous world. Our lives are recorded in our phones Nothing can harm us if we are in there …right? So we act as though nothing can break us. When they say ‘no phones while driving’? We think they are too controlling. When they say ‘keep your eyes on the road’? We turn to gossip with friends. When they say ‘wear a seat belt’? Our eyes roll in disgust. When they say ‘no driving friends for a year’? How dare they. Because we are the teens of America, Immune to the dangerous world. But the 11 teens who die each day, Would beg to differ. Because what happens when one day You don’t make it to school Your seat remains empty And the call goes home saying You didn’t make it. Even worse? It could have been avoided. So the crushed metal, Broken glass, And tire marks, become a warning. A warning that they weren’t lying, That we aren’t invincible. We are selfish We are wrong We are ignorant And we need to change Now. The bad news? Most teen crashes are caused by distracted drivers. The good news? Most teen crashes are caused by distracted drivers. Because that is something we can control. It is OUR choice to turn cell phones off It is OUR choice to drive only when alert It is OUR choice to avoid distractive passengers It is OUR choice to pay attention It is OUR choice not to be selfish It is all a choice, But it is a choice we need to make. Because no distraction is worth a life. And because they were right, It could be us next.


One of the first times I went driving after I got my license, I encountered a car that swerved in front of me. I am a good driver but I still pay extra attention to everything around me in case of that exact situation. Had I been looking down or distracted in any way, I might not be here to write this today. The fact that distracted driving is the number one cause of teen deaths is no surprise to me. What is shocking to me is the fact that people don’t do more to lower the death rates. I have experienced many near accidents and have witnessed multiple ones, fatal and otherwise, all around me. All I know now is that I want to make a difference. I want to show people that change is necessary, and that change will come from them. The lives of teenagers depends on it. My life depends on it.