DEL VALLE, Texas (KXAN) - Seniors 2011 is something they've talked about for years. It's now just a matter of hours before they will kiss high school good-bye for good. While they may think they know everything about everything, there is something they don't have much experience with: driving and texting.
"We may have grown up with iPods, MP3 players and technology," said Del Valle high school senior Tommie Jackson. "We have not grown up with a car. So we certainly are not experienced when it comes to texting and driving.
Jackson told the story of riding with a friend who is obsessed with texting and driving. Jackson said his friend constantly takes both hands off the wheel and drives with his knees just to read and send a text.
"He veers off the road sometimes," said Jackson. "I even have to reach over and grab the wheel."
These are the stories that are disturbing to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He said in the state there are 3,000 texting and driving-related crashes every year. His office has partnered with The Department of Public Safety and AT&T to launch a state-wide awareness campaign.
"Using cell phones while driving has become an essential life function and even a life or death situation for teens if they don't get a response or respond to a text," said Abbott.
AT&T said teens send 3,339 texts per month.
To help teens break the habit, a few Del Valle seniors drove an swerving obstacle course with orange cones and a cell phone in hand. They were required to text, drive and try to stay between the cones.
Teens Kathleen Jones and Jackson didn't do so well. Jackson ran over a few and even dragged one under the car.
"I ran over seven cones and even broke one in half," said Jones. "You wouldn't read a book while driving and that's basically what it is. These cones could've been lives."
"Taking your attention off the road for even a second can be dangerous," said Jackson. "A kid could run out chasing his favorite ball and if your head is down texting, you could kill that little kid."
Abbott has an important reminder for teens.
"You don't have to respond to a text right away. You can wait until you arrive at your destination or you can pull over," said Abbott.
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