Students learn realities of texting and driving

Taking the pledge
Taking the pledge
Taking the pledge
Taking the pledge

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Students at Baton Rouge Magnet High School got a hands-on lesson on the dangers of texting and driving.

The students stepped into a real car and were presented with real scenarios.

AT&T Regional Director Rick Demint said the company is on a nationwide mission called "Txting and Driving. It can wait." It aims at keeping drivers' hands off their cell phones while behind the wheel.

"They'll see parked cars, red lights, bicyclists, pedestrians, just like they were driving the car. They look down, look away to text they're subject to run into those things," Rick Demint said.

Daniel Huldan was one of the first students at the school to take the simulator for a test drive. This headgear plots the course while someone dictates what to text. Students waiting in line watch from a screen outside the car. Huldan got in two collisions and had problems staying in his own lane.

"It's kind of hard because you're trying to look at the phone as well, looking in two directions," Huldan said.

Another student, Temberlee Mallett, was eager to take a spin.

"I didn't see pedestrians. I hit other vehicles because the wheel would veer. I totally exceeded the speed limit," Mallett said.

Louisiana State Police Captain Doug Cain said troopers consider the combination when investigating crashes.

"What we begun doing in our fatal crashes when we suspected texting was a factor is actually subpoena cell phone records so we can use that in our investigation," Capt. Cain said.

While they may have taken their chances before, some students said the short drive down a staged street was enough to change their minds.

"I always thought I could brake and stop when you need to. But you don't even realize because you're looking at your phone," Mallett said.

"What are you going to do the next time one of your friend's sends you a text and you're driving," reporter Cheryl Mercedes asked.

"I won't even know because my phone is going to be in my purse the next time I'm driving," Mallett responded.

Demint said an estimated 600 students in the Baton Rouge area have made the pledge to not text and drive.

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