CAPE CORAL, Fla. - It's been called an epidemic from some of the top officials in the country. We all know the danger of texting while driving, but how do we stop our kids from doing it?
From social media campaigns to smart phone applications, there are several ways to encourage your kid to put the phone down. WINK News Call For Action is showing you what works, and what doesn't.
It was the biggest game of the year when Ida Baker squared off against South Fort Myers two weeks ago. Like always, Jessica Coniglio the Co-Captain of the Cheerleading squad was on the sidelines. But we're talking to her about a different competition.
"I had to send in an essay on texting while driving," said Coniglio, who is a finalist for a scholarship through DoSomething.Org.
Her cause is to end texting and driving among her peers. The pictures she submitted, which show her and the cheerleading squad and the football team, now hang in the halls of Ida Baker High School.
For Coniglio it's a personal fight that started because of a friend.
"He got hit by a car, and the person was texting while driving," Coniglio said.
After talking to Jessica, we started wondering how do parents get their teenagers to be as proactive to end texting and driving. So we asked her mother.
"When stories come out on things that are happening, and statistics come out, you need to show your kids what's going on," said Jennifer Coniglio.
There's another mother with the same advice.
"It's word of mouth. I don't think you can convince them unless they have a tragedy happen to them, or they know somebody," said Kristin Murphy of Naples.
Murphy's daughter Chelsey was killed two years ago when she was hit by a driver who was texting. Chelsey was one of more than 3,000 people who died because of distracted driving that year.
Murphy spoke this week at the Distracted Driving Summit in Tampa. Which brought together federal, state and local authorities to brainstorm ways to end texting and driving. The keynote speaker was U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"We do it by telling stories that can have an impact on people," LaHood said.
Or you can do it by showing them the impact in person. Last month, representatives from AT&T took their "It can wait" simulator to Fort Myers High School. Teenagers, like Daniel Lutarewych, tried and failed to send a text while driving.
"It's just more of an eye opener than ever," said Lutarewych.
You can play the simulator yourself online at itcanwaitsimulator.org. You can also watch heartbreaking videos and learn some shocking statistics that might convince your kid to put the phone down. If those don't work, there's an app for that.
AT&T offers Drive Mode, an app which automatically sends a reply to anyone who texts you when you are driving. There are hundreds of similar apps available, some free, others at a cost.
The technology is relatively new and will no doubt improve with time. We asked Jennifer Coniglio to test some of them, but she wasn't impressed, yet.
"To make them turn on this app before they get in the car, when they're rushing out the door, they're just not always going to remember that," said Coniglio.
"We shouldn't need technology, we should just do it," said LaHood.
Florida is one of just 12 states that doesn't have distracted driving legislation on the books. A bill in the Florida House has stalled and was never brought for a vote.