Texting & Driving: The Simulator and the Stats - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Texting & Driving: The Simulator and the Stats

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Did you know that when you text and drive, you are 23 times more likely to get into an accident? That's according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

They also say 11 teens die every day because of texting and driving. You see it so often, it's easy to forget it's been illegal in Iowa for three years.

Groups fighting to get people to stop texting behind the wheel say we have to have a complete change of mindset. We have to view texting as more dangerous than driving drunk, especially among teens.

"Certainly a problem with adults, but the problem with teens is that they are texting so much more than adults text and they're novice drivers so it's a deadly combination," says Beth Canuteson, AT&T Regional VP of External Affairs.

Over at Valley High School, we put teens to the test with an AT&T driving simulator.

"When I got a text, I immediately looked at the phone and I crashed into a bus," said Amela Huskse, a Valley High School junior, during the simulation.

The average length of a text is 4.6 seconds. That means if you're traveling at 55 mph, you'll travel the distance of a football field, blind!

But when that phone dings, for some it's almost impossible not to check. The experts say there's something to that.

"One of the studies have shown psychologically we are addicted to our technology so it's not an easy thing to do," says Beth Canuteson.

It's not easy to resist and the consequences just don't seem bad enough or maybe real enough for some. So what will it take?

"Honestly the only thing I can think of is them getting into an accident and experiencing what can go wrong with it," said Haley Hamilton, a Valley senior.

"People think 'Am I going to get hurt?' You hurt somebody else that changes your life forever too.  And could be a complete stranger or the love of your life or your child.  It's just not worth a text," explains Canuteson with AT&T.

And Wednesday night at 10, you'll meet a mother who went through just that: a life-changing experience just because of one text message. Tune in at 10 for the story.

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