Text & Die: Is texting the new DUI?

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

As more people use smartphones, PSAs about the dangers of texting and driving are becoming far more common. A public service announcement by AAA released last year compared texting and driving to... drinking and driving.

"Driving on your phone can be just as impairing, just as dangerous," said Shawn Steward with AAA. "Just as deadly. It's really come to that point."

According to the National Transportation Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people were killed and nearly 400,000 were hurt in crashes because of distracted driving.

That equals about nine people who are killed every single day.

Some say it's even likely more because distracted driving is difficult to prove legally.

"It can be and mostly likely is higher than that," Steward said.

Jacque Tierce knows the dangers all too well. Her daughter was killed when she rear-ended a semi while texting and driving last year.

"You tell your children and you tell your children, 'Don't do it.' But I'm guilty of it myself. I think we all are," she said.

When you send a text, you take your eyes off the road for about five seconds. Even going just 55 miles per hour, that amount of time takes you down the length of a football field.

Which is why PSAs like the one from AAA will likely become more common.

"We see it as a huge threat on the roads and we're going to keep fighting it vigorously," Steward said.

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