DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) --Local law enforcement kicked off the Distracted Driving Awareness campaign called One Text or Call Could Wreck It All at Hillside High School in Durham Monday.
The campaign is put on by the N.C. Governor's Highway Safety Program.
"When you talk about younger drivers, they're less experienced. Mix that inexperience with the distractions in a vehicle, whether it's a smartphone or grooming themselves, just eating, whatever the distraction is, that leads to an environment that is very dangerous," said Don Nail, Director of the Governor's Highway Safety Program.
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The event featured a crashed car to show students the dangers of texting while driving. The teen involved in the wreck didn't survive. A sign on the mangled car said, "This vehicle is a memorial. Please treat it with respect."
"I didn't realize this could be the effect of texting while driving," said John Beatey Jr., a 12th Grade Student.
AT&T had virtual reality simulators to give teens the experience of driving while texting. It's part of AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign.
"The whole purpose of the 'It can wait' campaign is to convey the message that there is no text, search, post, email that is so important that it's worth your life or somebody else's," said Clifton Metcalf, AT&T Spokesman. "Simply, it can wait."
According to the NC Department of Transportation, 159 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina involving distracted drivers in 2015.
In 2016, that number was 177.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. They'll have four of these events at area high schools this month.
The message seems to resonate with students.
"Seeing all the things that can happen to me while texting and driving it just makes me not want to have a phone around," Beatey said.
Here are some more sobering statistics about distracted driving:
-In 2015, 159 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina involving distracted drivers, which is a 10.4% percent increase in the number of distracted driving fatalities recorded in 2014.
-In 2015, approximately 27,230 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina involving distracted drivers, which is an increase from the 25,521 people who were injured in 2014.
-In 2016, 177 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina involving distracted drivers, which is a 9.9% percent increase in the number of distracted driving fatalities recorded in 2015.
-In 2016, approximately 26,982 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in North Carolina involving distracted drivers, which is a decrease from the 27,296 people who were injured in 2015.
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