Teens get a hands-on lesson on the danger of texting while driving

SOUTH MILWAUKEE -- Teenagers are always told "don't text and drive." On Monday, October 15th, students at South Milwaukee High School got the go-ahead to text and drive -- and many of them crashed! However, that was the whole point.

Students at South Milwaukee High School had the opportunity to participate in a texting and driving simulator which allowed students to experience the dangers of texting and driving while in a safe environment.

"Each teen gets a chance to sit in the driver`s seat of the simulator, put on simulator goggles and then try texting as they`re driving," Children's Hospital of Wisconsin motor vehicle safety educator Deena Liska said.

The students were asked to text, "Mom, what's for dinner? Can I bring a friend?" As texting doubles your reaction time, most of the teens didn't get too far.

"I kept swerving, going over the yellow lines. I almost hit somebody and I could only text mom," sophomore Callie Fakler said.

At 65 miles-per-hour, a car can travel the length of a basketball court in a single second, so taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds to text can have a devastating impact.

"While you`re driving, put that phone away. Put it in your purse, put it in your gym bag, put in the glove box or turn it off. Nothing is worth the accident or worth the risk of texting and driving," Liska said.

As the students crashed in the simulator Monday, the message began to sink in.

"From what I've seen when I crashed, I definitely don`t want to do that in real life," sophomore Jesse Wolnik said.

Health and education officials are hoping this exercise prevents teens from facing the consequences of typing on their phone, instead of watching the road.

CLICK HERE for additional information on the texting and driving simulator.