Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Teens, parents learn the dangers of texting while driving

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TWC News: Teens, parents learn the dangers of texting while driving
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Texting, talking on the phone and eating are some of the activities that put teenagers in danger when they are behind the wheel. Some young adults were put to the test Thursday to see how well they can use the phone while driving.

Brandon Walker was one teenager who was encouraged to text in the driver’s seat for Austin’s first Family Driver Challenge at the Delco Center. The event allows teens and their parents to drive through an obstacle course while texting.

"It's hard to fight the urge when you get a message on your phone when you're driving. It's hard not to text back," Brandon said.

Brandon’s father, Michael Walker, hopes the course will teach his son an important lesson in a safe environment.

"My biggest fear is to get a call that he's been involved in some kind of fatality," he said.

Distracted driving is to blame for about 300,000 accidents each year. Event organizer Kristen Beaman said 6,000 people died from distracted driving in 2008 alone.

"We want to have the kids learn, and the parents too, learn how dangerous these distractions can be," she said.

Brandon said the statistics will make him think twice about picking up the phone while driving.

"It's disturbing to see these numbers like that. It's dangerous. I don't want to be one of those people who gets in an accident, because of music, cell phone, anything like that."

Organizers of the challenge said if parents text while driving, teens are more likely to follow in their footsteps.

In Austin, texting while driving has been illegal since January and can earn drivers a $500 ticket.

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