LAKE CRYSTAL, MN

New research from AT&T shows 81% of people admit to texting behind the wheel, while 64% admit to snapchatting and viewing photos while driving.

Obviously, distracted driving has become an issue throughout the country affecting all age groups in all regions.

In an effort to try and combat the distracted driving, AT&T and the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths Program teamed up with Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial to remind students that smartphone activity should wait until after driving.

"Not only students.  Students are our target market but it's also a way for them to take the message back home," explained AT&T Director of External Affairs Valerie Bruggeman.  "Parents, individuals, we all do distracted driving so our hope is to educate and inform individuals about those dangers."

Students who took part came face–to–face with the dangers of distracted driving.

They were then encouraged to sign a pledge to not practice distracted driving habits, interact with a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives due to distracted driving and take in a wall of keys representing lives lost.

"I think it's really great for students to understand the dangers that are associated with using their cell phones when they are in a vehicle or when they are driving," said LCWM Principal Mike Thofson.  "It can be really dangerous out on the road and sometimes kids cant understand that but a project like this can really help show them what some of the dangers are and what the consequences of distracted driving are."

The virtual reality experience really hit home for most participants.

It simulates real–life car crashes and gives testimonials of people who have lost a loved one due to distracted driving, those who survived but were permanently injured and even people who caused a fatal crash through distracted driving.

Kaitlin Ewy tried the VR experience and even jumped a few times due to distracted crashes.

"It's important because you can endanger your own life and thousands of people's lives.  They had those little dots or whatever and there are tons of people who got in car crashes," said Ewy.

Ewy, and many other students, went on to say that this experience has opened her eyes about using her phone behind the wheel.

--KEYC News 12