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The fight against distracted driving

New ways to keep drivers distraction free behind the wheel (WNWO/Marcus Espinoza).

What does distracted driving really look like?

NBC 24 News, with the help of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Lucas County Sheriff's Office, the Traffic Safety Program for Lucas County and Oregon Schools, set up a distracted driving simulation to find out.

Alyson Naugle is a student at Clay High School and volunteered to participate in the program to see what it was like to drive distracted.

For safety purposes, the demonstration was done in an enclosed Bobcat and an empty parking lot where cones were set up.

"Driving alone was really easy to me because I drive and it was pretty easy going around the corners," said Naugle.

But as soon as a distraction was added in the form of a cell phone seeking attention no cone was safe.

"When you start texting it was really hard because people are texting and you couldn't reply right away and you tried but you wanted to keep looking at the road so it was really difficult.

Naugle says many of her peers suffer from FOMA, or the "fear of missing out" on something critical, like a friends text to meet up for ice cream.

Jamie Blazevich is a traffic safety program coordinator for Lucas County and she says our brains struggle with this level of multitasking.

“When you look down at your phone…your brain just cannot do two things at once. It has to take some resources away from something (driving) and when you try and do two things at once, it can’t comprehend the thing that you’re doing and then bring your focus back to then the primary focus," said Blazevich

Many parents worry about their kids getting behind the wheel to begin with, let alone driving distracted.

So what can they do to enforce better driving habits?

There's an app for that, lots of them.

The AT&T DriveMode App for example is a free app that can silence alerts and phone calls so your child stays focused on the road.

There's also the Hum App from Verizon that sends speed alerts to your phone.

Newer cars even come with the ability to program two keys, one master key for the parent, and another key that comes with programmed rules such as speed and radio volume limits.

Bobby Jorgensen with Kistler Ford says the primary things parents look for when getting a car for their kids is safety. But he thinks the best way to teach kids to drive safely, is to lead by example.

"I challenge all the parents out there, put your phone away in the car, don't have it out while you're driving, shut if off for that time period," said Jorgensen.

Naugle says one look at that text can affect more than just you.

"It could cost someone's life, you have to remember that. It could hurt yourself or somebody else on the road. It's not just you...you have to worry about everyone else too," said Naugle.

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