LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Now that summer is fast approaching it won't be long before teens are out of class and enjoying their summer break taking to the roads. Experts refer to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers on the road. It's all due to the amount of teens, an estimated 37%, who text and drive. AT&T is now working to curb that habit by visiting high schools all across the country to promote the dangers of texting and driving.
On May 15, the AT&T "Txtng & Driving ... It Can Wait" campaign visited Seneca High School. The campaign is complete with a real car that simulates the dangers of texting and driving. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer attended the event along with several police officers and representatives from AT&T.
Lt. Joe Seelye, commander of the traffic division at LMPD, introduced himself to the small crowd of students saying he hopes to never meet them on official business. Seelye commented on what he saw when watching students participate in the real-life simulator and his hopes they took the experience seriously.
"The red light you ran or the van you ran into on this machine could happen in real life," Seelye said. "It could be your grandparents, your parents, your siblings... anybody here that you run into."
Seelye stated that 18% of road fatalities can be linked to texting and driving. The National Safety Council reports that over 480,000 crashes this year alone will be linked to drivers using their cell phones.
"Using that cell phone in that fashion is the same as operating that vehicle under the influence," says Seelye.
Rob South with AT&T says the company has now developed an application for smart phones called 'AT&T Drive Mode.' This application is designed to make it easier for teens and adults alike to put down their phones while driving.
"When it's on, if someone sends you a text, it will automatically reply to that person telling them that you're driving and you'll respond later," said South.
The new application is part of a four-year, $1 million commitment toward initiatives that educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving.