It’s not a LOL matter, texting and driving. Yet 78 percent teenage drivers have read text messages while driving says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 71% of teens admit to composing and sending text messages while driving. This behavior is termed distracted driving, and it kills. Defensive driving school is a solution that can help to show teens why texting while driving is not an option.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012, 3,328 people died in highway crashed because the driver was distracted by reading or composing text messages. That is a lot of mothers who have to learn the sad news that a child has died because of texting while driving. To combat this trend among teen drivers, and as a means of warning other drivers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a campaign designed show the dangers of distracted driving. The information is direct and to the point. It centers around a 31 second video that is hosted on YouTube and is being pushed publicly by news stations. The video focuses around a bold statement that is: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” The payment is made startlingly clear in the video. The driver receives a text message and while distracted runs a red light. The error in judgment unfurls as the car full of teenagers is struck by a truck. The graphic, slow motion of the inside of the car during the accident fades to a police officer who is delivering the message that the police are serious about ticketing drivers who text. The payment for the ticket in this case was all of the lives of those teens in the car. The payment implied by the police officer would have been a life saving fine for a ticket. Prevention is the greatest cure.

To bring that point home to teen drivers, police in Illinois have been on the offensive for watching and ticketing distracted drivers. Texting teens have received over 2,200 tickets in Illinois in 2014. Illinois state police have also issued an additional 3,400 warning citations to distracted drivers thus far in 2014. That is 5,700 drivers who have been pulled over for something that is totally preventable, and capable of killing a lot of innocent people. Parents are urged to make their teen drivers attend a defensive driving class. These classes are designed to show teens why hand-free driving saves lives. Nobody wants to open the door to find a police officer there with tragic news. Texting while driving is preventable, but we all have to work together.