AT&T hopes distracted driving simulator saves lives

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WICHITA, Kan. Cell phones, for a lot of us, they're in our hands constantly.

But cell phone carrier AT&T was at Wichita State Wednesday telling people to put the phone down when they're behind the wheel.

It can be hard for our actions to match what we know. Take texting and driving for example.

Wichita State student Ashlin Bohl admits she uses her phone more than she should.

"I see people on the phone, especially at stop lights, all the time, and I think I have a bad habit of doing that too," said Bohl.

Christopher Johnson is with the AT&T It Can Wait campaign, traveling the country with this simulator. He asks people for just two minutes to see if he can open their eyes, and it usually works.

"That seemed so real," said Bohl as she took off the virtual reality headset.

More than 430-thousand crashes a year are caused by distracted driving. And last year, 3,200 people were killed.

A AAA study released Wednesday says the most dangerous drivers on the road are 19 to 24-year-olds. Add in distractions like a cell phone and that's a bad combination.

"That did kind of scare me going through that and seeing...I already knew that it only takes a second, but going through that makes me want to drive a little more carefully," said Bohl.

"We're just going to remind everybody that no text, no post, no selfie is worth a life," said Johnson.

Just about everyone is walking away with a plan to change.

"What did you think?" Johnson asked another student as they finished the simulation. "That was intense."

"I need to put my phone down and not use it when I'm driving. I'm going to try [to do it]," said Bohl."

Other age groups in the Triple A study did not fair much better than 19-24-year-olds. More than two thirds of drivers in all age groups admit to dangerous habits behind the wheel.