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      Family Focus: A Deadly 'Epidemic' Becomes Reality

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      It is a sound a teenager never wants to hear, yet alone, a phrase that anyone wants to respond to: "911, what's your emergency?"

      It is a convenience that 46 percent of teen drivers confess of doing. "A lot of teens text and drive because they think they can."

      Kearney High School students were able to re-enact the scenario of texting and driving to get a small hint of what could happen.

      "Even if it's a traffic cone, it can be your little sister or someone else's little sister," said Peyton Vanwinkle, public relations specialist for FCCLA at KHS.

      School resource officials say it is a common trend that has become the biggest distraction while driving because of a simple misunderstanding.

      "What they don't understand is that an accident can happen in seconds," said Derek Luke, SRO for KHS.

      Those who are in the 15-to-20 year old range are at the highest risk. According to AAA, car and traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for that age range; thanks to prime examples.

      "77 percent of teens have seen their parents text and drive, so, it's a habit," said Vanwinkle.

      Even if it is a habit for some, those same officials who are helping deter these accidents are the same ones who have to respond to them. They are now saying no telephone ring or no "LOL" is worth a life.

      "If the phone rings, or someone texts you while you're driving, let it go, or pull over. Driving is your number one priority," said Luke.

      "It's something that's not an accident...you choose to text and drive," said Vanwinkle.

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