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Are you addicted to texting?

Two Missouri high school students are working to raise money to bring a distracted driving simulator to their high school. They both attended a distracted driving summit last year in Washington, D.C., where they were able to use a simulator and experience just how fast a car accident can occur when the driver is distracted by an activity like texting.

They also have experienced the tragedy of the death of a fellow student due to a distracted or reckless driving crash. And, being teens, they know other teens who text and drive, and want to prevent them from becoming the victim of a fatal accident.

The use of the simulator can help teen drivers, who often can be overconfident of their driving abilities, and may not recognize that they cannot handle both texting and driving. The simulator can demonstrate how real the likelihood of a crash is when they text.

There are many activities that can cause a driver to become distracted, from adjusting a radio, eating, shaving and putting on make-up. None of these activities is a good idea, but texting may be specially dangerous, as one study found that the receipt of a text triggered a receptor in the brain to react in the manner of a chemical addiction.

We have all seen people who seem "addicted" to texting, and this study suggests there may be elements of the chemistry of the brain that make it more than a figure of speech.

Because it can be addicting, and removing your attention from the road can be so dangerous, the safest place for your phone while driving is turned off and out of sight.

Ozarksfirst.com, "Bolivar Students Raise Money for Distracted Driving Summit," Lindsay Clein, February 5, 2015

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