Simulating the dangers of texting and driving

By Chad Weber

April 15, 2013 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 1:01 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- According to the Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts, texting while driving kills 11 teens every day.

One group hoping to spread the awareness of the dangers of texting and driving came to Peoria Monday.

The message was simple. Texting and driving kills.

"I couldn't concentrate looking at the phone," said Gloria Osei-tutu who participated in the driving simulator, "responding to the messages. I realized I was going off the road all the time."

The results were similar for many more who tried their best at the texting and driving simulators.

The experience was provided by the Save a Life tour.

The organization which used to focus solely on drinking and driving has had to update with the times.

"So many more people with cell phones," said tour manager Cody Beerthuis." The thing about drinking and driving, it is still a very dangerous thing. However not everyone drinks. Even if your talking on the phone or texting, your reaction times is a lot slower than the .08 blood alcohol level. So your reaction time is slower than if you were intoxicated."

Cody agreed to allow me to try out the distracting driving simulator for myself.

He said it is a little more sensitive than an actual car.

But I wanted to find out how well a multi-media journalist could multi-task behind the wheel.

Spoiler alert: not well.

I started off smooth enough, until the texts started coming in.

That's when I found myself swerving across the across the road and soon to oncoming traffic.

So his advice to drivers...

The biggest thing I always tell people is to keep their cell phone in their glove box or center console.

Beerthuis said every text can wait until you arrive at your destination, and no text is worth a life.

"I hope I can get a couple people that quit texting and driving," said Beerthuis, "at least get through one. If I can get through one, I can save a family getting hit by a mini van."

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