FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Despite being one year into a statewide ban on texting and driving, nearly half of Hoosier teens admit to texting behind the wheel.
With students out of school and on area roadways in increasing numbers, the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day have been called the 100 deadliest days of the year.
That's why AT&T representatives are touring the country as part of their "It Can Wait" campaign. Since teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 send text messages approximately 60 time a day (up from 50 in 2009), the campaign aims to encourage teens to keep their phones out of reach while driving.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined other state leaders, AT&T representatives, and students at New Tech Academy Tuesday to emphasize the importance of paying attention behind the wheel.
Zoeller says it's not only about risking your personal safety, but you also risk the safety of others when you're a distracted driver.
On Tuesday, students were able to test their texting while driving skills in a driving simulator. This showed them how their driving would be affected if they were paying more attention to their phone than the road.
Haleigh Hunly is a sophomore at New Tech Academy. "It was hard," she says. "You got distracted while you were trying to text. It was hard to see what else was going on. People would just walk out and there were deer and dogs and kids."
People whom text and drive are 23 times more likely to be in a crash. When sending a text message you take your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, and when driving 55 mph, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
People caught texting while driving are liable for fines of $25 for first time offenders and $50 for each subsequent offense. For people under the age of 18, using a cell phone for any purpose behind the wheel is illegal.
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