Civic Learning Opportunity

Issue: Distracted Driving 

This activity uses the public issue of distracted ...
Civic Learning Opportunity
Distracted Driving 
More people have mobile phones than ever before....
Civic Learning Opportunity
Here are a few essential questions to start thinking about and analyzing t...
Civic Learning Opportunity
Citizens and leaders collaborate to solve problems. As a student, ...
Civic Learning Opportunity
Federal Communications Commission – The Dangers of Texting While Driving 
Civic Learning Opportunity
Cell phone use prohibited for drivers under 18 
NC Senate Bill 1289
Civic Learning Opportunity
The activities are flexible to plug into your lesson plan. Suggested ways to align t...
Civic Learning Opportunity




Civic Learning Opportunity

Grade 8 


§ 20-137.3. Unl...
G.S. 20-137.4A

§ 20-137.4A. U...



Getting a license and behind
the wheel is on every teen’s
mind at some point.

Driving can be fun
but it has som...
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Distracted driving and civic literacy


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educational activities help students to build civic literacy while learning about dangers of distracted driving

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Distracted driving and civic literacy

  1. 1. Civic Learning Opportunity   Issue: Distracted Driving      Overview  This activity uses the public issue of distracted driving (especially texting while  driving) to help students learn about roles of government, legislative process,  leadership, civic participation and other topics; analyze and think critically about  information; and engage in civic action to make a difference.      Objective  Using the example of texting while driving laws, students will learn about:  Public issues related to distracted driving  Legislative process in North Carolina  Analyzing and thinking critically about information related to public policy  Strategies used to identify and address public issues in NC and other states  Opportunities to take civic action to help solve a problem      Grades  The activity targets students in Civics & Economics, and can also be used in 8th  grade social studies and other courses. Aligns to Common Core and NC Essential  Standards for social studies (attached). It is easily adapted for other grades  and subjects.                This activity is sponsored by GenerationNation @GenNation
  2. 2. Civic Learning Opportunity LEARN ABOUT THE ISSUE    Distracted Driving    More people have mobile phones than ever before. Many use the device to send text  messages, sometimes while driving. People who text while they are driving are distracted  drivers ‐ resulting in accidents, injury and loss of life. Many teen drivers or passengers report  using cell phones and texting while in the car.    A few statistics from the Federal Communications Commission:  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2010, driver  distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes – with 3,092 people killed –  and crashes resulting in an injury – with 416,000 people wounded.  • Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a  cell phone in a way that put people in danger, according to a Pew survey.   • The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that text messaging creates a crash  risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.  • Eleven percent of drivers aged 18 to 20 who were involved in an automobile accident  and survived admitted they were sending or receiving texts when they crashed.   In May 2013, Missouri teen Savannah Nash was killed in an accident just 6 days after getting her  driver’s license. Law enforcement reported that the teenager was texting when she pulled in  front of a truck.    Wonder how texting impacts driving? Play SMS Racing and find out. (see resource page)    Government addresses the issue    Across the country, citizens and leaders have identified distracted driving as a major public  issue. Different states and agencies have recommended and approved different policies and  laws to address the issue. (Use the web resource guide to read more about other states.)    In North Carolina, legislators in the General Assembly passed a law in 2006 prohibiting teens  from using cell phones while driving.    In 2009, additional legislation targeted texting while driving.  After several meetings, votes and  revisions, the bill was passed into law and took effect on December 1, 2009. It prohibits drivers  of any age from texting while driving.     The Town of Chapel Hill enacted an ordinance – a local law – prohibiting any driver of any age  from using a cell phone while driving (both handheld and hands‐free). The ban is effective  October 1, 2013. GenerationNation @GenNation
  3. 3. Civic Learning Opportunity THINK AND ANALYZE    Here are a few essential questions to start thinking about and analyzing this issue:    How does a public issue come to the attention of lawmakers?  Do you think it is government’s business to know what you do as an individual? How does  this tie in with rights and responsibilities?  Why does a legislator decide to sponsor a bill? What is the purpose of a co‐sponsor?  What are some reasons a lawmaker might have to vote for/against a bill like a cell phone or  texting ban?  What are the key steps in the legislative process?  How do you find out what the laws are?  Do you think laws are easy to read and understand? Why or why not?  Do you think the cell phone and texting laws help to solve the problem of distracted  driving?   Are the penalties high enough?  Do you have other ideas for ending the problem?  Do you think the laws for teens and adults should be different? Why or why not? Why do  you think they are different?  Do you think teens understand the issues/laws about distracted driving? Why or why not?  Can you think of other examples of laws, policies or issues that specifically impact young  people?  Do you think public officials care what young people think? Why or why not? How can  student voice make a difference? GenerationNation @GenNation
  4. 4. Civic Learning Opportunity YOUR TURN: DECIDE AND ACT    Citizens and leaders collaborate to solve problems. As a student, your perspective is important  for effective policies and decisions impacting young people.     What do YOU think about distracted driving and teens? Do you think that the laws are making a  difference? How would you address the issue?    What’s the law?  Read and summarize the legislation, and then answer these questions:    Does the legislation state the problem, and the solution, clearly?   What is the punishment for violating the law? Is this an effective deterrent?  The different versions of the bill show which words were added or deleted as it was  revised and then approved. Were the edits helpful?   Do most students know about the distracted driving laws? How should they be  publicized to reach the most people?  See what other states are doing to solve the problem. Write your own legislation. What  are you proposing that is different? Why?    Make your voice heard  Public officials make decisions that impact us every day. Do you have an idea to solve the  problem of teen distracted driving? Let them know what’s on your mind! The news media helps  to highlight public issues and government’s policies and solutions. Social media is a great tool  for sharing information. And, many public officials, journalists, and teens use it.     Do you have an idea to solve the problem of teen distracted driving?     Write a news article or opinion, or make a video. Then share it with GenerationNation.  We’ll make sure to share it with elected officials and media.    Make a Wish for My Community/Photovoice (see resources    Contact officials (see resources)    Celebrate My Drive  State Farm encourages teens – and teachers, parents, and others at your school and in the  community – to make a commitment to safe driving. To celebrate and encourage this  commitment, State Farm invites you to participate in Celebrate My Drive.  Register by October  17, and ask people to make a commitment to safe driving daily October 18‐26. The schools with  the most safe driving commitments can win BIG grants and prizes.     State Farm agents can also visit your classroom to talk about safe driving, personal financial  literacy, and related topics. Contact GenerationNation to learn more. GenerationNation @GenNation
  5. 5. Civic Learning Opportunity RESOURCES    Federal Communications Commission – The Dangers of Texting While Driving‐while‐driving     Governors Highway Safety Association – Laws in each state     Texting teen dies 6 days after getting license‐dies‐in‐wreck‐in‐cass‐county‐caused‐teen‐crash‐death‐cops‐article‐ 1.1347892     Can you be liable for texting a driver (New Jersey laws)‐driving‐jersey‐explainer/index.html     Poll finds support for cell phone/driving restrictions‐poll‐nc‐says‐hang‐up‐and‐drive.html   OMG! R U driving while texting?‐r‐u‐driving‐nc‐texting‐ban.html   Teen drivers who text are more persistent, harder to catch‐teens‐more‐persistent.html   About the North Carolina General Assembly‐carolina‐general‐assembly     A student’s guide to finding legislation online‐legislation‐online‐advice‐from‐a‐ student     NC Laws: Texting    NC General Statute ‐137.4A.html   NC House Bill 9 / State H9 GenerationNation @GenNation
  6. 6. Civic Learning Opportunity Cell phone use prohibited for drivers under 18    NC Senate Bill 1289 1289   NC General Statute /GS_20‐137.3.html       Texting while driving ban becomes law   Town of Chapel Hill Cell Phone Ban (no hand‐held or hands‐free while driving)   NC Advocates for Justice‐tractor‐trailer‐truck‐drivers‐ texting‐on‐nc‐roads‐now/   State Farm Teen Drivers‐drivers/     State Farm Celebrate My Drive   * Register your school by October 17   * Highlight safe driving by getting people to sign the commitment pledge – win big grants and  prizes for your school!       SMS Racing Simulator  Texting while driving (play in browser or download; classroom version available)‐racing/     A Wish or Idea for My Community‐wish‐and‐ideas     Talking with Officials GenerationNation @GenNation
  7. 7. Civic Learning Opportunity Alignment  The activities are flexible to plug into your lesson plan. Suggested ways to align to Common Core  and NC Essential Standards include the following.    Grade 10 Common Core      CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.9‐10.1  Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of  primary and secondary sources, attending to such features  as the date and origin of the information.    CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.9‐10.2  Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or  secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how  key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.    CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.9‐10.3  Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text;  determine whether earlier events caused later ones or  simply preceded them.    CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.9‐10.4  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are  used in a text, including vocabulary describing political,  social, or economic aspects of history/social science.    CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.9‐10.9  Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in  several primary and secondary sources.    CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.WHST.9‐10.1  Write arguments focused on discipline‐specific content.    CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.WHST.9‐10.2  Write informative/explanatory texts, including the  narration of historical events, scientific procedures/    experiments, or technical processes.    Civics & Economics      CE.C&G.2  Analyze government systems within the United States in  terms of their structure, function and relationships.    CE.C&G.2.1  Analyze the structures of national, state and local    governments in terms of ways they are organized to  maintain order, security, welfare of the public and the  protection of citizens (e.g., federalism, the three branches,  court system, jurisdictions, judicial process, agencies,  etc.). GenerationNation @GenNation
  8. 8. Civic Learning Opportunity CE.C&G.2.2    CE.C&G.2.6    CE.C&G.2.7    CE.C&G.3.2    CE.C&G.3.5    CE.C&G.3.6    CE.C&G.4.3    CE.C&G.4.4 Summarize the functions of North Carolina state and local  governments within the federal system of government  (e.g., local charters, maintain a militia, pass ordinances  and laws, collect taxes, supervise elections, maintain  highways, types of local governments, etc.).    Evaluate the authority federal, state and local  governments have over individuals’ rights and privileges.    Analyze contemporary issues and governmental responses  at the local, state, and national levels in terms of how they  promote the public interest and/or general welfare.  Compare lawmaking processes of federal, state and local  governments (e.g., committee system, legislative process,  bills, laws, veto, filibuster, cloture, proposition, etc.).    Compare jurisdictions and methods of law enforcement  applied at each level of government, the consequences of  noncompliance to laws at each level and how each reflects  equal protection under the law(e.g., Department of  Justice, Regulatory Commissions, FBI. SBI, Homeland  Security, Magistrate, State troopers, Sheriff, City police,  Ordinance, Statute, Regulation, Fines, Arrest, etc.).    Explain ways laws have been influenced by political  parties, constituents, interest groups, lobbyists, the media  and public opinion (e.g., extension of suffrage, labor  legislation, civil rights legislation, military policy,  environmental legislation, business regulation and  educational policy).    Analyze the roles of citizens of North Carolina and the  United States in terms of responsibilities, participation,  civic life and criteria for membership or admission (e.g.,  voting, jury duty, lobbying, interacting successfully with  government agencies, organizing and working in civic  groups, volunteering, petitioning, etc.)    Analyze the obligations of citizens by determining when  their personal desires, interests and involvement are  subordinate to the good of the nation or state (e.g.,  Patriot Act, Homeland Security, sedition, civil rights, equal  rights under the law, jury duty, Selective Services Act, rule  GenerationNation @GenNation
  9. 9. Civic Learning Opportunity Grade 8  CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.6‐8.1       CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.6‐8.2       CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.RH.6‐8.3  CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.WHST.6‐8.1     CCSS.ELA‐Literacy.WHST.6‐8.2   8.H.3.2    8.H.3.3    8.H.3.4    of law, eminent domain, etc.)      Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of  primary and secondary sources.  Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or  secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the  source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.    Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process  related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes  law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).    Write arguments focused on discipline‐specific content.  Write informative/explanatory texts, including the  narration of historical events, scientific procedures/  experiments, or technical processes.  Explain how changes brought about by technology and  other innovations affected individuals and groups in North  Carolina and the United States (e.g. advancements in  transportation, communication networks and business  practices).    Explain how individuals and groups have influenced  economic, political and social change in North Carolina  and the United States.    Compare historical and contemporary issues to  understand continuity and change in the development of  North Carolina and the United States.   GenerationNation @GenNation
  10. 10. GS_20-137.3 § 20-137.3. Unlawful use of a mobile phone by persons under 18 years of age. (a) Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section: (1) Additional technology. - Any technology that provides access to digital media including, but not limited to, a camera, music, the Internet, or games. The term does not include electronic mail or text messaging. (2) Mobile telephone. - A device used by subscribers and other users of wireless telephone service to access the service. The term includes: (i) a device with which a user engages in a call using at least one hand, and (ii) a device that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with an attachment or addition, whether or not permanently part of the mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a call without the use of either hand, whether or not the use of either hand is necessary to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of such telephone. (3) Wireless telephone service. - A service that is a two-way real-time voice telecommunications service that is interconnected to a public switched telephone network and is provided by a commercial mobile radio service, as such term is defined by 47 C.F.R. § 20.3. (b) Offense. - Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person under the age of 18 years shall operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone or any additional technology associated with a mobile telephone while the vehicle is in motion. This prohibition shall not apply to the use of a mobile telephone or additional technology in a stationary vehicle. (c) Seizure. - The provisions of this section shall not be construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a mobile telephone, unless otherwise provided by law. (d) Exceptions. - The provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply if the use of a mobile telephone is for the sole purpose of communicating with: (1) Any of the following regarding an emergency situation: an emergency response operator; a hospital, physician's office, or health clinic; a public or privately owned ambulance company or service; a fire department; or a law enforcement agency. (2) The motor vehicle operator's parent, legal guardian or spouse. (e) Penalty. - Any person violating this section shall have committed an infraction and shall pay a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00). This offense is an offense for which a defendant may waive the right to a hearing or trial and admit responsibility for the infraction pursuant to G.S. 7A-148. No drivers license points, insurance surcharge, or court costs shall be assessed as a result of a violation of this section. (2006-177, s. 1; 2009-135, s. 1.)
  11. 11. G.S. 20-137.4A § 20-137.4A. Unlawful use of mobile telephone for text messaging or electronic mail. (a) Offense. - It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a vehicle on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone to: (1) Manually enter multiple letters or text in the device as a means of communicating with another person; or (2) Read any electronic mail or text message transmitted to the device or stored within the device, provided that this prohibition shall not apply to any name or number stored in the device nor to any caller identification information. (a1) Motor Carrier Offense. - It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a commercial motor vehicle subject to Part 390 or 392 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations on a public street or highway or public vehicular area while using a mobile telephone or other electronic device in violation of those Parts. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the use of hands-free technology. (b) Exceptions. - The provisions of this section shall not apply to: (1) The operator of a vehicle that is lawfully parked or stopped. (2) Any of the following while in the performance of their official duties: a law enforcement officer; a member of a fire department; or the operator of a public or private ambulance. (3) The use of factory-installed or aftermarket global positioning systems (GPS) or wireless communications devices used to transmit or receive data as part of a digital dispatch system. (4) The use of voice operated technology. (c) Penalty. - A violation of this section while operating a school bus, as defined in G.S. 20-137.4(a)(4), shall be a Class 2 misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00). Any other violation of this section shall be an infraction and shall be punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100.00) and the costs of court. No drivers license points or insurance surcharge shall be assessed as a result of a violation of this section. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not constitute negligence per se or contributory negligence per se by the operator in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a vehicle. (2009-135, s. 2; 2012-78, s. 9.)
  12. 12. ! ® x2 Getting a license and behind the wheel is on every teen’s mind at some point. Driving can be fun but it has some risks ... like distracted driving. After all . . . CAR CRASHES ARE THE #1 CAUSE OF INJURY AMONG TEENS. YOU CAN HELP! Teens and teachers, rally your school and community and raise awareness on teen driver safety! Your high school could win Visit and register your high school to show your support for road safety. You could also win some BIG prizes! with Kelly Clarkson For more information and official rules visit Commit daily to safe driving on behalf of your school from October 18-26 to win.