Texting While Driving...It Can Wait

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Almost three and a half years ago, Julie Brietenstein got a phone call that every parent dreads.

"It was a very heart wrenching phone call that no one ever wants to receive," said Brietenstein.

Her son, Austin, was driving and reading a long text message when suddenly...

"It happened in a matter of 4 seconds. He hit a telephone pole, wrapped the telephone pole around his truck. Austin was ejected through the front wind shield," said Brietenstein.

Austin survived the crash but can no longer speak normally due to a serious brain injury. His mom shared that story at the AT&T "It Can Wait/ No Texting and Driving" campaign.

"Those that text and drive are 23 times more likely to get in a crash than those that don't and we are really trying to change that behavior," said AT&T Kansas President, Steve Hahn.

A rollover simulator was there to show students the distractions of driving, like texting, and the consequences that go along with it. Students also got behind the wheel in a "texting while driving simulator" to see and feel the consequences of distracted driving.

"Not only are you endangering your own life, you are endangering those around you," said Highland Park High School junior, Brittney Brown.

At the end of the assembly, many signed a pledge vowing never to text and drive.

"We can take this message so far. No text is worth their life," said Breitenstein.

"I definitely won't text and drive," said Highland Park High School junior, Arizona Corber.

Social media is playing a major role in this campaign; 1.5 million have taken the no texting pledge. You can also make a personal commitment to never text and drive at www.itcanwwait.com.