MIDTOWN ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - AT&T brought a texting-and-driving simulator to Harris-Stowe State University Wednesday morning. Young drivers could learn, safely, just how deadly texting-and-driving can be.
According to AT&T 97% of teen drivers know how dangerous the practice can be. Yet, almost half text-and-drive anyway. Eighteen-year-old Wil Washington is about to text and drive at Harris Stowe.
"I feel like I can handle it,' he tried to convince himself. 'I really do. I feel like I can handle it."
Washington admits to texting-and-driving before.
"I hit a curb once,' he remembered.
Wednesday, he did it in the safety of a simulator, sponsored by AT&T. Washington admitted he had a wild ride in the parked sedan. He saw a lot through a video-game like movie playing through goggles.
"Almost hit a kid, crashed,' he remembered.
He tried to convince himself he could still drive while distracted.
'It's 3 out of 10 that was just two you, know?'
Harris-Stowe grad Miguel de Araujo was less eager.
"... I think I just killed someone,' he mumbled while in the simulator. He had just hit a child.
De Araujo said he didn't text and drive that much in the first place.
"Maybe at a stoplight. Now, I don't even think that's a good idea."
I gave the simulator a spin. I almost hit a cop car.
On a nearby flatscreen, students can see "The Last Text". The first story comes from a Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper who tried to save teenager Mariah West in the Ozarks. She crashed while texting a friend in 2009.
"When I got to the scene,' remembered Trooper Grant Hendrix 'Her face was disfigured from sliding down the roadway."
West, who was supposed to graduate from high school the next day, died. There are pictures of a lovely teenaged girl before the accident. West`s family gave pictures of her lying unconscious in intensive care, with her eyes swollen shut and a tube in her nose. Another story showed a young man, disabled after surviving a crash. He was texting right before his accident.
These stories are graphic.
"They are,' admitted AT&T`s Tony Wyche. 'But sometimes, we need to have some strong images to really get the point across about how dangerous texting and driving can be."
Washington is done joking. He's done texting and driving.
"Well, if it's not important it will just have to wait,' he said.
Take the pledge to stop texting-and-driving. http://itcanwait.att.com/