Simulator Shows Teens Dangers of Texting and Driving

By Ben Cleveland

December 11, 2012 Updated Dec 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM CDT

We know the dangers of texting while driving, but many of us have still done it.

"I have. I am guilty," said John Ducharne, senior at Central High School.

With the holidays coming and kids having more free time, it can become more of an issue.

"We see them making a lot of poor choices while they're driving," said Sgt. Duane Ellis of the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

AT&T brought their simulator car to Cheyenne Friday and teens got to see just how dangerous it is when they got inside.

"I thought it's going to be really easy, but when I actually started doing it, it was actually a lot harder than I thought it was going to be," Ducharne said.

"When I got behind the wheel and I started texting. I was like, this is so horrible because you can't do it right and it's like that for everybody," said Kenndrea Bazal, junior at East High School.

AT&T says they are educating kids by taking this car to schools all over the country because texting is the main form of communication among teens.

"Just for one text takes about five seconds. If you took you're eyes off the road for five seconds going 55 miles per hour, you would've gone the length of a football field," said Suzanne Trantow, AT&T spokesperson.

Statistics show that while you're driving a car, if you're typing on your phone and don't have your eyes on the road, you're 23 times more likely to get in a crash and as a result 11 teens die in the United States every day.

"We do see that a lot in the state of Wyoming and we do have fatalities on Wyoming roadways because of that," Ellis said.

Despite their best efforts to dodge pedestrians and oncoming traffic, not one student was able to avoid a virtual tragedy.

"I wrecked into somebody and went like 50 in a 25. So big tickets and not good for killing somebody on the side of the road," Bazal said.

"I hit a wall because I was on a mountain road," Ducharne said.

At the end of the exercise, it seemed the simulator did it's job.

"It's good because you don't have the repercussions of actually hurting somebody, but you can see what could happen to someone," Bazal said.

- Story originally published by CBS 5 Cheyenne, WY