CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 15 people are killed and more than 1200 are injured in the United States every single day due to distracted driving.
More than half of U.S. drivers, ages 18-29, admit to texting or emailing while behind the wheel.
That’s why AT&T teamed up with Coral Springs Police to teach local teenagers an important lesson: texting while driving is dangerous and can be fatal.
They used a texting while driving simulator to drive that point home to dozens of teenage, self-proclaimed professional texters.
“They actually sit in front of a wheel and it’s as if they are driving down the road with cars and people crossing in front of them,” said Coral Springs Charter School Teacher Jeff Cox.
Many of the teen drivers went in confident, but came out less than confident.
“It was difficult,” said student Miranda Palumdo.
When asked about his performance, Student Zack Thompson replied “I did a lot better than I thought.”
But his expectations were low given he nearly hit several pedestrians.
Student Erick Cardona, who admits he texts while driving from time to time, swerved across multiple lanes during his simulation. After his simulation, Cardona said he wouldn’t text and drive anymore. “I won’t. I could’ve hurt people.”
Despite a car without any passengers or any music playing, the majority of students didn’t fare too well in the simulation.
“When they are really doing it their music is playing loudly and kids are talking to them and they want to look cool,” said Cox. “I hope they see the dangers of it and stop texting and driving.”
Cox and AT&T Spokesperson Kelly Starling warn the anti-texting while driving message is not only for students, but their parents as well.
“Seventy seven percent of the teens we surveyed said an adult had talked to them about the dangers of driving and texting, yet they all text and drive,” Starling said. “We as adults and parents have got to set the example!”
Starling hopes today’s experience will stay with the teenage drivers for life!
Florida is one of six states that has yet to ban texting while driving.
Thursday at 11pm CBS 4 News will take a closer look at why more and more experts are calling texting while driving the new “driving drunk,” and why it’s still legal to do it in Florida.