PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s dangerous, potentially deadly and not to mention, illegal. Yet, some teens are still texting behind the wheel.
KDKA-TV’s Sarah Arbogast put a few new drivers to the test to show them just how hazardous taking your eyes off the road can be.
Amanda Leseman, 17, has had her driver’s license for about eight months. She doesn’t text behind the wheel, but some of her friends do.
“I just don’t think it’s worth it. You can wait to send a text message, wait until you’re at a stop light, wait until you’re home. It’s just not worth the risk,” Leseman said.
The risks are high.
In 2012, teen auto fatalities went up for the first time in 10 years.
According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, 11 teens die every day in crashes caused by texting.
“If you’re doing 55 miles an hour and you look down at that phone, it usually takes about 4.2 seconds to do these texts, to send and receive them. You just went the length of the football field blind,” Jim Clair from the Ultimate Defensive Driving School said.
Despite warning after warning, some new drivers just aren’t listening.
Arbogast thought those drivers would get the message by actually putting some of their peers to the test.
In a safe area and in the company of driving instructors with access to a passenger side brake, she had three Seneca Valley teens text while driving.
All three teens felt a loss of control and that was driving at a slow speed, without other cars around.
“Just my eyes off the road for even a split second, I can feel myself moving over into the other lane,” Chad Izenas said.
Bethany Sager, 16, was also swerving. In fact, at one point, the instructor reached for the wheel.
The texting ban went into effect here in Pennsylvania just over a year ago and it’s not just teens breaking the law, adults are doing it too.
“[About] 94 or 95 percent of the teens have seen their parents texting and driving, so if they see their parents texting and driving, they are going to do it also. So, we have to set the example,” Clair said.
If police catch you texting behind the wheel, the fine is $50, plus court costs.
But, even teens know, the consequences could be much worse.
“I don’t want to get into an accident,” Sager said.
“If you’re in an accident, you could possibly end your life or someone else’s,” Leseman said.