Five Lives Gone: Dangers of Texting and Driving

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NBC Today Show
Matt Lauer, Peter Alexander
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Police say the accident that killed five teenaged girls from Fairport, NY, when their SUV collided with a tractor-trailer, may have been caused by the teen driver sending and receiving text messages as she drove.



"Five Lives Gone: Dangers of Texting and Driving." Peter Alexander, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 17 July 2007. NBC Learn. Web. 31 January 2015.


Peter Alexander, . (Reporter), & Lauer, M. (Anchor). (2007, July 17). Five Lives Gone: Dangers of Texting and Driving. [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from


"Five Lives Gone: Dangers of Texting and Driving" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 07/17/2007. Accessed Sat Jan 31 2015 from NBC Learn:


Five Lives Gone: Dangers of Texting and Driving

MATT LAUER, co-host: We're going to talk about these five young lives that ended way too soon. And it turns out, text messaging may be to blame. NBC's Peter Alexander has more on that.

Peter, good morning to you.

PETER ALEXANDER reporting: Matt, good morning to you.

Driving is of course a rite of passage for so many young people everywhere. But it is also their greatest danger. Combine inexperience with distractions like friends and the radio and you can wind up with deadly consequences.

In the small town of Fairport, New York, it was a heartbreaking loss. Five teenage girls killed last month, just five days after their high school graduation, when their SUV swerved into the wrong lane, slamming into a tractor-trailer head on.

Unidentified Woman #1: These girls were like a huge part of our lives and I just--I can't believe they're gone.

ALEXANDER: As families try to make sense of the tragedy, a possible cause. Police say the SUV's driver, 17-year-old Bailey Goodman, may have been sending and receiving text messages at the time of the crash.

Sherriff PHILIP C. POVERO ([shown on screen] Ontario County, New York): Records from Miss Goodman's phone indicate that she did send out a text message at approximately 10:05:02 PM. She received a text message response on her cell phone at approximately 10:06:29. The first 911 call was at 10:07:07.

ALEXANDER: That 911 call came just 38 seconds after Goodman received the final text. It was from a male friend that read simply, "What are you doing?" For years, parents and police have campaigned against drinking and driving. But now they warn texting and driving can be just as deadly a combination.

Ms. YOLANDA CLARK (American Automobile Association): The danger in texting while driving is really that the teen encounters multiple distractions coupled with their inexperience behind the wheel.

ALEXANDER: Twenty-nine percent of teenage drivers with few years of experience on the road admit to texting while driving. And car crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 16 to 24.

Ms. CLARK: Every year in this country, the number of teens who are involved in fatal car crashes is the equivalent of one 737 aircraft crashing to the ground once a week in this country. So the numbers are significant.

ALEXANDER: Tragically, a combination that may have played a role in the deaths of five teenage girls.

And as for that deadly crash right here in New York State, the sheriff says there is no doubt people inside the car were texting, Matt. But they'll never know for sure whether it was in fact the driver who was trying to use her phone.

LAUER: And when you look at statistics that say 40 percent of people who use mobile phones are using those in addition to text message, and you realize it's such a problem with teens because you've seen them on the street. They think they're so good at this and can do it so quickly, almost without looking, that they may be doing this when they shouldn't be doing it.

ALEXANDER: It's a terrifying feeling if you're driving down the road and you look right next to you and see you somebody who's not looking at you, they're looking down in their lap. They miss the green light. They do whatever else. In fact 29 percent of teens in a recent survey, Matt, admitted they have texted while driving.

LAUER: So we've got some tips for parents. I mean, the ways to deal with this with your children. First of all, talk about it.

ALEXANDER: Well, yeah, it's important that you discuss this, not just texting, but also simply talking on the phone while driving, which is a dangerous problem for so many teens. It's important that parents also perhaps make a contract, a deal with their kids, and say, `Hey, let's make a deal, don't text, you get to keep your phone.' In addition, you want to make sure that the teen drivers pull over if they're texting, if you can. You say, `You know what? We'll make a deal. You're allowed to have the phone, but pull over when you do that.' And finally, according to a lot of experts we spoke to, it's important to enroll your teen into a driver's class, a course that helps teach them these lessons. If they're not going to get it from their parents, they got to get it from somewhere.

LAUER: Yeah, and if they say, `Oh, Mom,' or `Oh, Dad, I don't want to do that,' `Tough, you're doing it.'


LAUER: You know, you only get one chance in a lot of these situations.

ALEXANDER: That's the rule, not just for you and then also for the other drivers on the road to keep an eye.

LAUER: That's true. Peter, thanks very much...


LAUER: ...for the information. Appreciate it.