Local students learn lessons about texting and driving

Posted at: 01/30/2013 6:57 PM
Updated at: 01/30/2013 7:01 PM
By: Eddie Garcia, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Some Albuquerque students were actually asked Wednesday morning to text and drive.

Don't panic, they were not out on the open road. It was all set up in a safe environment. The idea was to teach students about the dangers of texting while driving.

16 year old Jennifer Martinez already knows about texting behind the wheel.

"I tried it once and I realized I was swerving to the side so I stopped doing that but no, now I don't," said Martinez.

That experience stopped her but she said it isn't stopping her friends.

"And sometimes she'll like swerve a little or sometimes there's like a car coming and they want to pass her and she gets all scared," said Martinez.

Martinez said she sees so many drivers out there like her friend.

That's why AT&T is using an elaborate simulation complete with a fake car, video goggles and, of course, texting.

"They're trying to avoid pitfalls and distractions and things that are jumping on the road," said AT&T representative Karen Kruse.

Kids put on the goggles and are instructed to text and drive - the video display shows everyone what they're seeing.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 was there when Jennifer gave it a shot.

"Ah! Oh my gosh, I can't stop!" she exclaimed as a computer simulated person stepped out onto the street. "I just hit a pedestrian!" she said.

Jennifer shouldn't feel bad about the fake wreck: everyone who texted - crashed during the simulation.

Many students told KOB it was a lesson learned, so they all signed a pledge by AT&T to not text and drive again.

"I think it shows how quickly things can change if you're not watching the whole time," said a student.

Kruse said they're taking the message across the nation hoping kids will influence each other.

"They'll find a way to say don't text and drive we need to get there safely in their own way," said Kruse.

Jennifer said she doesn't want to go through this kind of crisis in real life.

"I know I will not text and drive from now on!" said Martinez.