STARKE, Fla. -

Traffic crashes are the No. 1 cause of death of people age 15 to 19 and the fatality rate for teen drivers is four times that of older motorists.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • Texting is top reason for distracted driving
  • The average teen sends or receives about 100 text messages each day
  • 34 percent of teens admit to texting and driving
  • Drivers are 23 times as likely to crash if texting and driving


With Bradford County deputies saying more of the crashes involving young drivers involve distracted driving -- especially texting -- they're trying to put the brakes on the epidemic with a hands-on demonstration -- the Teen Driver Challenge.

Bradford County officials put high school students in the driver's seat on a closed course to demonstrate the dangers. Deputies and teachers ride with the students showing them that being on your phone and on the wheel can be deadly.

"Things happen so quickly that you do not have time to react, and that can lead to a fatality," said Lt. George Konkel.

"Even if you don't do anything wrong when you are driving, if someone pulls out in front of you and you are not looking at the road, you can have an accident," said Daniel Davis, driving instructor with Bradford County schools.

One student who took the class said it was helpful information that hits home.

"If I have my phone in the car, I'm going to turn it off. I just throw my phone in the car wherever and don't pay attention to it," the student said.