TAMPA -- Get this: 7 in 10 drivers admit to texting behind the wheel, according to a survey from AT&T.
It’s a sickening statistic for Port Richey father Steve Augello. His 17-year-old daughter died in 2008 when she was hit by a distracted driver. The driver of the other car and their passenger were also killed in the crash.
Augello gave the students at Plant High School in South Tampa an eye-opening experience Friday.
Many students cried hearing from the dad who says had that driver not sent that one text message, she would still be alive today.
“I watch the students as I tell me story and I can tell it really impacts them. A lot of them thank me for speaking with them and promise they will put their phones away and tell others to do the same. If I can reach one student and really change their behavior, then it’s all worth it,” Augello explained.
The teens also used a virtual reality simulator inside their driver's education classroom, and the students saw how one distraction can cause a fatal crash within less than a second.
Steve Augello plans to go to Tallahassee to again push for stricter laws in Florida for drivers who text.
Texting behind the wheel is illegal, but the fine is only $30 for a first offense, $60 for a second offense. Augello is working to at least get the penalties doubled, to prevent another tragedy.