Parents sending their teenagers off to prom this weekend have the tragic story of 17-year-old Kaylie Jackson in the back of their minds after her ride crashed on the way to Monroe High School's prom last Friday.
AAA and the Forest Park police and fire departments tried to drive home the dangers of texting or drinking while driving at a free demonstration Wednesday morning at Winton Woods High School.
Senior Leila Adams said the course really shows how real the danger is.
"Even though you think you're going to do it fast -- it'll be a quick second -- it turns out you're looking at your phone for more than 30 seconds, and a minute, and that's way too long," Adams said. "You should never text and drive ever."
"It was really hard cause like I was trying to focus on two things at once," added freshman Ellie Mavridoglou as she took a turn.
Participating teen drivers also took the AAA Prom Promise Pledge to not text or drive impaired on Prom Night.
AAA Instructor Mike Belcuore said inexperience and distraction can become dangerous as car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens.
"They overestimate the driving ability, underestimate the risk," Belcuore said.
Speeding, distraction and poor "visual scanning" are the top three deadly mistakes teens make while driving. Distracted driving was a factor in nearly six out of 10 moderate to severe teen crashes.
They added that the worst distractions are other people in the car and cellphone use.
Research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has identified several factors that increase the danger to teen drivers and their passengers:
Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel (i.e., other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, etc.)
A 2016 AAA survey revealed that speeding, distraction and poor visual scanning are the top three deadliest mistakes teens make while driving.
In 2016, speeding was a factor in more than 30 percent of the fatal crashes that involved passenger vehicle teen drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Administration.
Nighttime driving, especially between the hours of 9 pm and midnight can be risky and 75 percent of all of Ohio teen night-time crashes occur between 9 pm and midnight.
Distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes. The most frequent potentially-distracting behaviors were conversing or otherwise interacting with passengers and cell phone use.