Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Responsibility of Authors

So today is Tuesday. And I've been thinking about something truthful to say for Tell The Truth Tuesday.

My girl kidlet has been listening to the Safety Kids CD's, so here's what I've been stewing on.

I think authors have the responsibility to show authentic consequences for the bad behavior of their characters. Especially in young adult literature, with underage protagonists doing dangerous and often illegal things.

I'm not saying authors can't have their characters doing "bad" things like drinking and smoking and doing drugs. I'm just going to go out on my limb and say that authors have the solemn responsibility to show the consequences of those things.

I'm sure many of you have seen that video that's circulating. The one about the accident that stemmed from a teen that was texting while driving. That's real. A real-world consequence for bad behavior. Bad things happen when humans make bad choices. So we must paint the accurate picture in our novels.

In a world where teens (and a lot of adults) think they're invincible, think they can do whatever they want without repercussions, I believe authors should portray the natural consequences of those actions. Life has consequences, no matter what parents do or don't do. No matter if you believe in God or not.

And that's the truth.

What do you think? Do you as an author have the responsibility to show authentic consequences for the bad behavior of the characters in your novel?


Scott said...


Every action has a reaction.

A stone thrown (action) in a pond causes ripples (reaction) on the surface, and also disturbs (reaction #2) below the surface, and might kill (reaction/consequence of action) a denizen of the formally peacful pond as it sinks downward.

Drinking + Driving (action) = Potential to Harm (reaction) Self and/or others.

I try to show the consequences of actions in my writing. I don't always redeem the people who do 'bad' things. A simple act can have devastating consequences, and I try to show those consequences in the broadest and sometimes narrowest, terms possible.


CKHB said...

I tend to agree, although this raises some additional thoughts:

1) Sometimes people DO get away with bad behavior. Authentic consequences are not always the precise consequences we hope for.

2) Not everyone agrees on what constitutes "bad behavior." Take sports as an example. I think good sportsmanship is more important than winning the game, but plenty of parents would abandon good sportsmanship in a heartbeat if it meant winning the game and maybe getting that college coach to notice their kid... these are the parents who think they're RIGHT to punch the referee over a bad call! What would a YA book written by those parents look like, I wonder?

Katie Salidas said...

I'm probably one of the few people who hasn't seen this video, but now I am curious. I will have to look at it.

On writing true consequences. Good point. We should show repercussions. I completely agree, especially where teens are concerned.

Danyelle L. said...

I think author's do have that responsibility--and generally the most character growth can come from the characters having to deal with those consequences.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I prefer books, films, music, art or any creative endeavor to have purpose. That purpose could be as simple as making me smile about something good in this world or force me to think about a deeper issue. This is not to say I want message-art or obvious agendas. But I think, especially in books for kids and teens, there should be consequences for bad behavior, lessons learned in the messy business of growing up, reflections on how individuals fit in the greater society. This can be done without preaching or heavy-handed disaster. Sometimes eye-openers come from subtle shifts and awakenings.

~Jamie said...

Ha! Did we both post about this today before reading what the other had to say?

Stephanie McGee said...

Absolutely agree 100%!

Tere Kirkland said...

Of course! As long as you can do it without it sounding like you're trying to teach a lesson, and as long as it makes sense to the story, YA lit is the perfect place for young adults to learn from the mistakes of others.

Lisa Aldin said...

In a way, I agree. There are physical consequences and emotional consequences to our actions.

Sometimes, teens do get away with things. Whether it be drinking or drugs or lying or stealing. Sometimes, they may do these things and they do not get in trouble. The more they participate in these behaviors, the more likely they will get caught. But not every bad action results in a bad PHYSICAL consequence. Their parents may never know, the police may never know.

But one can't escape the emotional consequences of our decisions. I think it's important to show how our decisions can change us, even if we get away with it. A teen drinking or doing drugs will change them...and it's not going to be for the better. So I think as authors, we need to at least show that, on the inside, making these bad decisions will only eat away at us. Everything eventually catches up to us, even if we think we've escaped the consequences just because we aren't arrested. And also - how these actions affect other people. Those are consequences.

Elana Johnson said...

Ah, Lisa, you are so much more eloquent than me. You're so totally right. Emotional consequences can be just as damaging--even if outward, physical consequences do not manifest themselves. Excellent, excellent point.

TereLiz - so true. YA lit is a great place to learn without having to do.

~Jamie - I read what you had to say. I know where you're coming from. I think we're just two different types of writers. Our goals for our books are different. And that's okay. Take the crit for what you want; I don't expect every person to agree with me. I don't agree with everything everyone says about my books either.

Tricia - lessons learned in the messy way of growing up. This is exactly it. I'm okay with things that are dangerous and illegal if lessons have been learned. If they haven't, I just think it leads to more bad behavior.

Danyelle - character growth! Yes! Often people grow the most when under fire.

CKHB - so true that we don't all agree on what bad behavior is. However, I think we can agree that illegal things constitute bad behavior. And I think those consequences should be shown. Even if it doesn't happen every single time. And people do get away with things all the time. So pick and choose which ones are important to you as an author and portray those. Maybe?

Scott - you are my hero. Redemption is not always necessary.

Thanks everyone! Great discussion today!

Judith Mercado said...

"Do you as an author have the responsibility to show authentic consequences for the bad behavior of the characters in your novel?"
This is a tough one for me as I grew up in an overly religious household where preaching reigned supreme. As a consequence, I’ve had a reflexive aversion to heavy lesson-bearing conversation and writing. Still, I recognize that the lack of awareness about the consequences of behavior can have its own dire results. So my answer to your question is a highly qualified yes. Yes, show the consequences of behavior, but only as they contribute to the proper development of a character. As someone else commented here, not every person suffers adverse consequences from ill-advised behavior. As writers, I believe it is our responsibility first to tell the story of our characters in the most authentic way possible. That may or may not bring with it the delineation of adverse consequences. On the other hand, young adult fiction may carry a different burden of responsibility. Still, writing authentically must still have some validity.

Carolyn V. said...

I TOTALLY agree with you!!! Where are those consequences, people? I think we do have a responsibility as authors to make sure the characters have real life consequences to their choices. (I hate reading or watching a movie that leaves me thinking, "Hey, if he was doing ____, wouldn't ___ happen? Drives me crazy.)

L. T. Host said...

ABSOLUTELY. As you say, especially for younger readers. I think adult readers can appreciate a more "literary" type of storyline where the bad guy doesn't get what's coming to him, but I think for younger readers it's essential. What lesson would millions of children have learned if Voldemort won in the Harry Potter series? That you may as well go to the bad side now because good won't prevail. Always think about the consequences your book could have on the reader.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I agree that there have to be consequences for bad behavior, even if it's inner turmoil. As someone else pointed out, some people DO get away with doing bad things, but I always believe it will come back somehow, some day.

Rachel Bateman said...

I agree with you to a point. Yes, every action has a consequence, whether it be good or bad.

I think my primary responsibility to my readers is to entertain them. I write novels, not lesson manuals. I believe it is important to show the consequences of my character's actions *only* as they pertain to the story being told and the growth of the character.

My job is to write and to entertain. My job is not to teach teenagers about the consequences to their actions; that job falls on their parents. Sadly, many parents do not take that responsibility to heart and do not reach their children well. Even so, it is still not my job to teach.

Carrie Harris said...

CKHB stole most of my comment. I hope she realizes that there will be CONSEQUENCES for this. ;)

But seriously. I'm all for consequences, but I've also read books in which the consequences were the point of the book, and it essentially became one big sermon and as a result, one sucky book. By all means, I think I've got a responsibility as a YA author to have some redeeming value in my books. I don't want to write fluff. But I don't want to preach either, and I think some people make that mistake when it comes to portraying consequences.

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

I totally agree. It doesn't mean the characters can't get away with it, but the consequences should be revealed.

There is some movie in which a group of guys, I wanna say football players, lie down on the stripes in the middle of a highway. Nothing bad happened. Kids did it in real life and got run over.

Not that kids are going to go out and shoot heroine because one of my teen characters does it, but without being preachy, the issue of drug use can effectively be put in a realistic light.

scott g.f.bailey said...

I'm going to disagree. Writers do not have that obligation. Writers are not responsible for teaching about the possible consequences of self-destructive behavior. No, they are not. If parents want to discuss the media their kids are exposed to, and have these conversations about consequences, that's fine. But writers are not obligated to make their stories into object lessons.

Leah Clifford said...


I've read both yours and Jamie's sides and had a good think about this. While I see where you're coming from, I think it depends a lot on what your story is about and the message you, as an author, want to send. I don't think we have the responsibility to show consequences for every action, but we do have the responsibility to some consequences. No one's going to write a book about heroin being awesomely glamorous and how wonderful it is, because it's not the truth. There's an ugly side we're all aware of that needs to be dealt with. Chances are, if you do heroin, there will be consequences. That said, texting is not heroin. A night of drinking around a bonfire in high school is not heroin. You mentioned the video where texting led to an accident. Sure, it can happen. But every day MILLIONS of people text without getting into accidents. To show the same extreme worst case scenario to an action every time would, in my opinion, be a greater disservice to readers. Also, it has a lot to do with characters, character development and plot. If I need to get Girl from point A to point B and she shoots off a text to let her friend know she's on her way, it doesn't benefit the story to drop in a chapter about being pulled over, or crashing her car, or feeling bad about being distracted. Most people I know, me included, aren't losing sleep over texting while driving, or drinking in HS. In most cases, feeling guilt or having to face consequences for these actions isn't "real" in practice. Of course, if drinking and driving is your main plot, then yes, of course there would be actions. I think it all comes down to a. what a character would do in that situation and b. what would be gained or lost for the novel in not having them face consequences. Interesting topic :)

Leah Clifford

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

I want to add a caveat to my last response. I did a ton of things in high school my parents didn't know about. I never got caught. By the grace of God I didn't get arrested for DUI. Just because I did it. Just because I didn't get caught, doesn't mean I didn't think. "Holy shit, I'm lucky I didn't get busted."

It isn't necessary to have the character suffer the consequences, but IMO it raises the stakes if the character is aware of the consequences.

Texting while driving doesn't freak me out so much. I eat and drink while driving and it takes more effort and is more distracting to remove the wrapper from a hamburger than for my daughter to send a text. But as I do it, I think, "this is a stupid thing to do."

My book has everything from heroine use to demonic possession in it. I don't preach. I tell the story, but I felt it necessary for the protagonist to debate internally based on the consequences of her actions.

I don't think it is my job to teach morals or life-skills. I do find myself addressing the consequences of illegal or life-threatening choices my characters make. Some of them choices I made and never got caught for.

Is it my responsibility as a children's author to be didactic? No. It is my choice to reveal consequences.

Paul W. West, Author said...

I agree with you Elana. We're the adults, they're the children. I think we adults have a MORAL responsibility to show the consequences of their actions. As a wise person once stated, "we are free to chose the course of our lives, but we are not free to chose the consequences." I think we, as adults, need to demonstrate what can happen if a child (teen) makes a bad choice.

I also think that goes along with the portrayal of bad their behavior in our writing. I don't think we adults need to portray graphic sex and fowl language that today's teens are so familiar with. We adults need to set the example. By showing what some call "reality", we are in actuality validating their bad behavior simply by echoing it in our writing.

Jenn Adams said...

I personally feel a lot of responsibility in how my writing will affect the person reading it, for good or bad. I don't think it has to be preachy, and I don't think the worst possible outcome has to happen every time a character makes a bad choice.

I think, too, that it doesn't have to be an immediate consequence. I know someone who recently did jail time because the police found some evidence of drugs in a baggie in her car, even though she'd been clean for months. Stuff can catch up to you, and I think it should catch up to our characters at some point, at least some of the time.

The fact of the matter is that people imitate what they see, even adults. Wasn't there some movie where a lady sets her ex-husband's car on fire, and then someone did it in real life, just like Mary said about the kids who were lying on the road? Of course, I'm not responsible for other people doing stupid things, but if I had written a book where kids lie down in the road and nothing happens, and then I found out someone did it in real life and died, I couldn't live with myself.

Plus, just for the pure sake of good writing, don't we want our characters to suffer consequences for their actions, even well-intentioned actions, to raise the stakes in the story? What better way to do that than by making your character suffer through the natural consequences of their stupid behavior?

Just my $.25. ;o)

Michelle McLean said...

I think I agree with Carrie and Rachel on this one. Yes it's important to show consequences if that's a valid part of the story. But if my teen character has unprotected sex, I don't want to feel obligated to add a pregnancy or STD scare just to get a lesson across...unless that scenario has a place in my plot.

I've also read books that are so focused on getting the moral lesson across I felt like I was sitting in Sunday School. The awesome story went away and I was left irritated because really, no one, esp a teenager, wants to be preached to.

So yes, I think showing realistic consequences is important - but I'd rather write to entertain myself and my audience rather than worry about whether or not I'm making sure my audience knows that doing X,Y or Z might not be good.

I think as long as you are staying true to your story, you are okay. If a consequence to bad behavior fits the plot, then great. If not, it is usually pretty obvious you are adding in a moral lesson just for the sake of adding it in.

ali cross said...

Are you kidding? I absolutely agree.

Some people have put lots of thought into their responses here, and maybe I'm not that deep. But I totally agree with you. Sometimes it's harder said than done, but yeah, I agree.

Elana Johnson said...

This is my favorite day so far! You guys are so amazing.

Leah (and a few others of you), I totally agree with you. I do think the consequences shown should fit/advance the plot, or add to the development of a character.

So here's my thing: I deliberately write my plot so I can show those consequences. In speculative fiction, you can do that, have a social commentary. And that's the kind of author I intend to be.

Is that the kind of author I expect everyone to be? No. Every author has to decide what their purpose is in writing, in their life, in the stories they want to tell. As for me, I've decided that I have a responsibility to show the good, bad and ugly of choices people make. Because I show the good too. There are some things my characters do that they get away with. But the "big things" which for me usually means things that are illegal, the physical and emotional consequences are portrayed.

So many good things to think about. All of you are wise. I'm glad I get to learn from you today!

Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...

It's a great topic, Elana. Well done.

Heather Zundel said...

Fascinating topic. I'm loving the discussion and all the varied opinions on this. Kudos Elana.

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...


Katie Ganshert said...

I can answer that with a resounding YES! I totally think authors have a responsibility to show authentic consequences to poor choices. Great question!

Cali MacKay said...

I not only think it's the writer's responsibility to show the consequences of one's actions, but I think it makes for a good story. After all, as writers, we want to ramp up the tension in our books, and what better way to do it than to throw our characters into a heap of trouble, made all the more realistic because it's a result of their actions.

~Jamie said...

I'm the author on the other end of this debate. It's funny because Elana and I had a discussion yesterday that spawned us BOTH writing our own blog posts about the same topic-which means it matters a lot to both of us.

By all standards I should be more worried about the consequences my characters need to face. I'm a mom, a school teacher, etc. But, I question the need for her to second guess things like texting while driving. Here's the thing: I know people who do this every day and are totally fine. I think if it's something like that (ie, commonplace in your everyday life) then I don't think you will feel guilty for it happening.

But the real question is, should it be in my book? For me, I didn't even think about it-I wrote the four sentences as they came to me and then moved on to the next lines. Am I perpetuating teen texting while driving? Well, I might be, and that certainly wasn't my intention.

If nothing else, it's given me pause to dwell on a certain issue and think about things in a different light. It's kind of crazy to me that something one of us thinks is no big deal is a HUGE thing to someone else, and I think that's what makes books so awesome.

I also think it's important for characters in books to become our id, so to speak. I want them to do things I would NEVER do and say things that wouldn't possibly come out of my mouth in a million years. Part of rebelling as a teen can be done through books, and maybe really save some kids from making serious mistakes... needless to say this whole issue really intrigues me. I'm glad we're talking about it!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

I think as long is it isn't done in a preachy or didactic manner, then showing consequences for bad actions in YA is very important. Love your example of the teens texting while driving video - it is done in such a realistic fashion - gruesomely so - and I think that is why it is really getting through to so many people.

Christine Fonseca said...

What a fantastic series of comments and a fantastic blog post to read.

For me it is all about authenticity...if you have your characters involved in risky behaviors (which is kindof what being a kid is all about in many respects), then the consequences need to be realistically shown - not to preach, not to encourage or discourage behavior - but to be authentic to the storyline.

As authors I think we have an obligation to be "real" - which means showing all of the edgy side of life. Show the drug use, the emotional consequences, the turmoil - everything. Even if there is no direct consequence to the character - there are always subtle, indirect consequences!

There is always so much debate on this topic - especially in the YA market. I personally have no problem with edgy YA...but I expect it to be portrayed in an emotionally realistic way - I expect it to be authentic!!!

Elana - thanks for spurring such a great conversation!

lisa and laura said...

Action + consequences = plot.

I think this is not just the responsibility of YA writers, but ALL writers. Every single thing we do has both expected and unexpected outcomes. Same goes for books.

Jenn Adams said...

For me, personally, I won't be writing any scenes where kids are having unprotected sex unless I'm going to be writing about said teens having an unwanted pregnancy, STD, serious emotional repurcussions or /something/. If I don't write the scene in the first place, then I don't have to worry about whether throwing the consequence in there hinders the plot or anything. Obviously, not everyone feels the same way, but for me, I'm not going to be writing crap just for the sake of being edgy. Y'know? I want to entertain and not be boring or preachy, but I also want my reader to be in some degree better after having read my book. I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

L.T. Elliot said...

Not only do I think it's a good thing to show responsibility, I think it's a good thing for character development for your fictional characters. Nothing helps get your character INTO a jam than when they screw up. =]

Janna Leadbetter said...

I agree, Elana. Because there's a truth in each story, and from that comes consequence, naturally. As my own writing has grown, I've realized how important it is to include that meaty (often hard) stuff, because that's what makes it relatable. (And the resulting emotion is important to me.) We all go through uncomfortable moments in life, there are things we don't understand. We have to share it in our writing. We can't get away with light and fluffy for too long.

CKHB said...

Oh, no, I've angered Carrie Harris!!!!

Yes, Elana, I agree that illegal behavior is a nice bright line (after all, even if someone thinks that, say, pot smoking isn't a big deal, SOCIETY AT LARGE in that region has agreed that it IS a big deal, and has assigned penalties accordingly).

What a great topic!

Leah said...

Great discussion, Elana, and I agree with you 100%.

I don't really have anything to add, just a couple questions for Leah Clifford who wrote, Most people I know, me included, aren't losing sleep over texting while driving, or drinking in HS. In most cases, feeling guilt or having to face consequences for these actions isn't "real" in practice.

WOW! That statement right there just confirmed every fear I have about my daughter re-enrolling in public school. If this is true, then obviously, our society is quickly losing touch with the fact that our actions (aka choices) always have consequences--either directly or indirectly, sometimes good and sometimes bad, now or later. Even those people who seem to get away with bad behavior, really don't. There's always a balance, even if we can't see it.

I get what you're saying about what's right for your story, and I agree with that part, but are you saying the majority of young adults wouldn't feel guilty for texting while driving or drinking without permission? Thus, why write a fictional character as such? Why show a reasonable and very possible consequence in fiction when there aren't any in real life? Are you really saying most teenagers drink and never feel guilty or never face any sort of consequence? *shivers* Gawd, I hope that's not true.

My last question for Leah is, has your life ever been touched by a drunk driver? Perhaps if you knew someone personally (a teenager), who was killed while drunk driving, or even worse killed someone else while driving under the influence, you might feel consequences are real in practice.

Thank you for taking the time to read my response. Please know I didn't write this with any sort of rude, sarcastic or malicious intent. I am not personally attacking you or your statement. It really just put my mind into overdrive and I had to follow-up with some questions.

Kind regards,
Leah Saylor-Abney

P.S. I've always raised my daughter to be aware of her choices and their consequences, and not only how they affect her life, but the lives of others around her. Of course, I know she will test my lessons but I hope I've armed her with enough information to make the best choice if and when she's in a tough situation. So I am in firm agreement that the responsibility for teaching such lessons is mine as the parent. However, I also believe if I'm writing a story aimed at a young adult audience, I need to be aware of the hot topics I'm touching upon in my story because young minds are like sponges, which can be both good and bad. I suppose it's a personal choice for every writer. Again, thanks to Elana and Jaime for bringing this thought-provoking discussion to the table.

Leah Clifford said...

I wanted to thank you for making me aware of this and giving me the chance to respond! Good form 

I think the “answer” to this (as in the original question Elana’s post posed, which seems to have become What is right and wrong to each of us and how does the portrayal of consequences to those actions affect our readers?) depends on our own moral compass. For me, texting while driving isn’t an offense that warrants a severe punishment in all cases. The same goes with drinking. Now, bear in mind, I’m not talking about drinking and DRIVING, which for me holds a very nasty spot on my moral compass, but perhaps a bonfire with friends and a sleepover (which is how we tended to do things). I also do not believe that every single bad action IS punished in life, because “bad” differs from person to person. For instance, my boyfriend is moving in with me next week. To some, cohabitation before marriage is “bad”, and therefore should be punished. For me, it’s the next logical step. We have a strong relationship and were friends for years before we made the jump to Boyfriend and Girlfriend. He lives in Texas and I live in Ohio. In my eyes, I’m doing nothing wrong. Others may see differently. So whose eyes decide my fate?

You asked if I was really saying that most teenagers wouldn’t feel guilty for texting while driving or drinking without permission. Yes, I was. I’ll tackle texting first, though there’s not a lot of data specifically on just teenagers, but why limit to them? Did you know there are more cell phone subscriptions than vehicle registrations? 270 million to 240 million. Logically that would be billions of texts sent each day, a decent percentage I’m sure, sent while driving. Are all these people being punished? Are each of them involved in horrific car accidents or even fender benders? Sure, statistics claim everywhere from 23-80% of accidents are caused by inattentive drivers. While it looks scary, these are people who GET INTO ACCIDENTS. Not drivers who do not, who can multi-task successfully (sure, there’s an argument for playing the odds, but still) It also said inattentive, not drivers who are texting. There is no data yet for texting. Should reaching for your hamburger have consequences every time? Taking your eyes off the road to smile at your daughter? If she screams in the passenger seat and you look away from the road, only to find she’s screaming at a bug you were inattentive while driving. I don’t believe that should have a punishment. You were just being a good mom. No doubt some of those texts sent are people being good friends, and 9,000 times out of 9001 times, no one would get hurt. You said that actions ALWAYS have consequences, whether now or later. What would be a later consequence related to a quick text sent without incident while driving, or you looking away to make sure your daughter is safe? Texting while walking is also dangerous. One could accidently bang into an old lady who falls and breaks her hip. Then again, most TwW goes off without a hitch. Where do we draw the line? I hope this doesn’t sound sarcastic, as I’m genuinely curious. It spins out of control pretty fast…


Leah Clifford said...

Drinking. Just as the accident statistics are meant to look scary, I’m sure there is a much smaller percentage of teens drinking than statistics report. But some teens drink. Teens experiment. They make good decision and bad decisions. So. Do. Adults. It’s part of learning and it’s part of life. Sometimes these decisions have consequences and lessons are learned. Sometimes, everyone wakes up fine and life goes on.

Not everything is black and white. Not ever “good” action is done for good reasons, not every “bad” action is done for bad reasons. It comes down to, for me, personal moral compass. For me, drunk driving is an absolute bad, and so it will ALWAYS have bad consequences in my books. Write what is true to you. And never NEVER change your morals and your personal right and wrong. I think that’s the answer. 

I do need to go, as I have a plane to Texas to catch in a few hours and I’ve given up sleep time to make sure I responded to this because I really appreciated your questions and that you did point them out to me. Before I go though, I wanted to address the “minds like sponges” idea. Give kids some credit. Please. Write not to lecture, not to parent others, but because you have a story to tell. You sound like you did a great job raising your daughter, teaching her right from wrong. Now you need to give her some credit. Do you think she would read a book with texting while driving and suddenly think it’s okay if she’s learned otherwise? Is Jamie’s few sentences enough to undo your years of solid parenting? I highly HIGHLY doubt it. Young Adult novelist John Green says it far better than I could, so I’ll leave it up to him. Pay special attention around 2:46. (post yelling ;) )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHMPtYvZ8tM

Leah Clifford

Leah said...

Thank you for taking the time to respond, Leah. And I appreciate your using up sleepy time to do so. You've given me even more to think about (and listen to) and I'm happy to read such a thought out response. I hope you had a nice trip to Texas.

Now I have to get to work or else I'll be learning about the consequence of not billing enough hours.

Take care,
Leah Saylor-Abney

Leah said...

Someone tweeted this today so I thought I'd share it for those following the comments here. At the end of paragraph 10, "was prevalent among young drivers." Personally, I still think texting while driving is a silly risk to take with your life and the lives of everyone else driving. Peace y'all!

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