Special Report: InTEXTicated
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"I have done it, and there's a lot of kids who do it," 17-year-old Michael said.
A AAA survey shows it:
46-percent of teens, almost half, say they text and drive.
"Once in a while one comes in and I read it, and try to send one out,” 17-year-old Russell said. “Sometimes I need to pull over."
Some say texting and driving is proving to be as dangerous and deadly as drinking and driving.
In this crash in New York, five cheerleaders died when their car swerved and hit a truck.
Police confirm the teen driver's cell phone had been used to exchange text messages seconds before the crash.
To drive the point home, 7News put teen drivers behind the wheel and put them to the "text test."
On a controlled track, with the proper safety precautions in place, we had two 17-year-olds drive a simple course through cones. Both Michael and Russell cruise through with no problems.
We then start texting them, and ask them to text back immediately, and that's when things turn dangerous.
Both of them crash into three cones.
"I hit about half of them while trying to read the text message, it was pretty bad," Russell said.
And here's why:
Watch Russell's eyes as he tries to read the message.
He looks away from the road over and over again! It's the same thing with Michael; his eyes leave the road seven times!
"You got to look at the screen and look at the road, just trying to get the numbers, it's not that easy," says Michael.
We tried another test:
19-year-old Andrew is asked to drive right behind a lead car, like he was tailgating. To be safe, he'll travel one lane over.
All the while he's texting.
When the lead car slams on the breaks, Andrew doesn't see a thing!
"You didn't even hit the breaks," Brandon Bogart, driving instructor for Advance Driving Training, told Andrew.
"I didn't know the car stopped in front of me, Andrew responded. “I would have hit the car real hard"
Michael and Russell's parents were shocked!
"It's dangerous, shouldn't be texting while you're driving," Marcia Wey, Russell’s mother says.
“It's too much of a distraction," And Kara Geary, Michael's mother, said.
Right now, there's no law banning texting and driving in Massachusetts.
But states like Washington and New Jersey have made it illegal, and several other states have bills pending.
Our teenage test drivers say they'll now think twice about texting while driving.
"I'm definitely not going to do it as much, probably not do it at all," Andrew said.
"Definitely not as often as I have," added Michael.
And hopefully more teens will keep their eyes on the road and stop driving while “InTEXTicated.”
(Copyright (c) 2007 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)