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How dangerous is texting and driving? Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States, and distracted driving is a major reason. In the time it takes to send a text message, a car can travel hundreds of feet.

Students use proportional reasoning to determine how far a car travels in the time it takes to text. Students discuss the dangers of distracted driving and generate strategies for helping drivers and passengers stay safe.

Students will

  • Use proportional reasoning to solve multi-step ratio problems

Before you begin

Students should have some experience with rates such as speed, and know how to convert between different units (e.g. hours and minutes, minutes and seconds). Note that this lesson covers a topic with serious consequences, and there may be students in your class who have been affected by a texting and driving accident in their own lives. Be sure to emphasize the seriousness of the issue with your class, as well as your expectation that they treat the discussion with sensitivity and maturity.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices

Additional Materials

  • Stopwatches


AT&T, U.S. Department of Transportation, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NBC News