It Can Wait program uses VR to prevent distracted driving

- Even though we all know it's dangerous, seven of 10 drivers still do things like text and driving, and research shows distracted driving is actually on the rise.

In an effort to change that behavior, a program is using virtual reality to show how quickly conditions can change on the road.

It's called "It Can Wait," and FOX 13 cameras captured a group of teens as they learned the dangers of distracted driving.

"I am guilty of it," 16-year-old Chae Humphrey told FOX 13.

He's not the only one. Experts say the number of distracted drivers increased by almost nine-percent recently. It's a trend that comes at a very high cost. In 2015 in Florida, there were almost 40,000 more distracted driving crashes than the year before. Hundreds more people died.

That's why AT&T presented its It Can Wait program at Berkley Accelerated Polk Pre-Collegiate School in Auburndale on Friday.

The program uses 3D goggles to put kids in the driver's seat. They see how glancing away from the road can end in a near miss - or crash. It is just one of many efforts by many different agencies to get people to concentrate on the road.

As spokeswoman for AT&T Karen McAllister explained, drivers do all kinds of crazy stuff behind the wheel.

"Taking selfies, videos, e-mail, and of course, texting as well," she said.

And distracted driving is a hot topic in Tallahassee. Two south Florida lawmakers are pushing a bill that would allow police to pull over young drivers, between 15- and 17-years-old, for texting and driving.

Right now, police can't do that. They can only cite you for distracted driving after they pull you over for another offense, like speeding or another traffic infraction.

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