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Simulator Shows Danger Of Texting & Driving

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Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) — The nationwide problem of texting and driving had gotten so bad that Maryland passed a law forbidding it.

As Mike Schuh reports, an insurance agent wants to make the point to teenagers.

Too often, accidents are caused by distracted drivers. Teens are involved in 41,000 accidents; car crashes are their No. 1 killer. That’s why Cecilia Woodlon’s mom brought her to a driving simulator demonstrating that texting and driving don’t mix. It took Cecilia Woodlon about 10 seconds to crash while texting.

“I told her she was coming, no buts about it. This morning she’s sleeping and I woke her up. ‘Come on, let’s go,'” said Sandra Woodlon.

Cecilia Woodlon has a permit but Sandra Woodlon feels that someone other than her needs to teach this lesson about texting and driving.

“They put everything aside for that phone. They need to learn that that phone is not the most important thing; the road is the most important thing,” Sandra Woodlon said.

“It’s hard because you can’t focus on both at the same time,” Cecilia Woodlon said.

Studies show you can’t be successful at texting and driving. Terrell Browne, 16, confirms it.

“People really need to not text and drive,” Browne said.

“And it’s not just about texting, but texting is the number one distraction,” insurance agent Pam Beidle said.

Beidle spent $5,000 bringing the test to the simulator. She just wants them to learn in a place where they won’t get hurt.

“Unless they think they’re going to be stopped for texting and driving or talking on their phone and driving, I think they’re still going to continue to do it,” Beidle said.

And if you think using a hands-free device to talk on your phone while you’re driving is less distracting, think again. Studies have shown that it is the act of conversation that is distracting, not holding the phone up to your head.

Biedle says she’s going to try to bring back the demonstrator next year and have it operate during school hours.

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