(David Bidwell on 22 News) Amanda Taped

Last published on 01/09/12 at 03:49 PM

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Video shows distracted driving impact

Updated: Tuesday, 12 Jul 2011, 8:34 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 12 Jul 2011, 5:54 PM EDT

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We all know distracted driving can be dangerous. 

To put things into perspective, in 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people died and 500,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents. 

"I can only pay attention to one thing. I don’t want to be texting not notice something and crash," said Mukqual Ramos of Holyoke. 

It was a lesson 19-year-old Heather Lerch from Washington learned the hard way. 

She was texting and lost control of her car in 2010 an accident that killed her. 

She is now the face of the federal government’s latestcampaign to end distracted driving. It’s a message many hope will hit hard.

David Bidwell of Montgomery says young people are paying attention to what’s going on around them, phone calls and texting instead of watching the road. 

"My sister has gotten into a couple of accidents and that has basically taught me a lesson and opened up my eyes not to text and drive," said Aislinn Calabrese of West Springfield. 

A lot of people don’t think this could happen to them so they text anyway. 

"I think I can do it. I never got into an accident oh why not. If someone texts you its just habit to text back right away," said Casie Shapin of West Springfield. 

Its illegal in Massachusetts to text while driving. But knowing some people ignore that law has other drivers even more focused on the road. 

Obry Wylie of Greenfield says he’s extra cautious because young people might not be paying attention to driving like they should. 

34 states have enacted texting bans. Nine states have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.

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