MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - It caused more than 2,000 crashes in 2010.
That same year, it claimed five lives.
It's texting and driving.
Wednesday, Mobile County Public High School students made a pledge to stop the risky behavior. Throughout the county, students participated in an assembly vowing that "It Can Wait."
Dakota Patrick is a student at Baker High School.
A typical teenager, texting is a part of Patrick's daily life, but not while driving. It's a lesson he said he learned at home.
"My Mom and brother are good role models. When I ride with my brother he puts his phone down and doesn't even look at it when it is vibrating," said Patrick.
Wednesday, Patrick pledged not to text and drive. Ever.
It is against the law to text and drive in the state of Alabama.
The law went into effect August 1 and prohibits anyone from operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway while text messaging on a handheld cell phone or other handheld wireless device. This law is aimed at saving lives by reducing distractions and encouraging drivers to focus on the road.
He took the pledge, along with thousands of other Mobile County Public High School students. The assemblies, which happened at schools across the county, started as students watched an AT&T video featuring families affected by texting while behind the wheel.
They're families who've lost loved ones or killed others texting while driving.
"As a 15-year-old, I am just starting to drive, and I thought it had a very powerful message," said Patrick.
The message was that a text consisting of three words or three letters and three seconds can kill you.
Experts say the average teen receives 21 to 71 texts a day, and most expect a reply within five minutes, even if they're driving. Those same experts say texting while driving is like driving with your eyes closed and that 90 percent of teens know how dangerous it can be.
AT&T Alabama President Fred McCallum said the video "It can wait" is graphic for a reason.
"It is what happens when you text and drive. And I know students think it won't happen to them and adults do, too. We want students to see this so they don't put themselves through what the people on that have gone through," said McCallum.
Student Katie Sippel said the video made her think twice.
"Helped me to realize texting and driving is selfish. Because it is not just my life, but passengers in my vehicle. It really burdened me to not text and drive for the sake of the people I love," said Katie Sippel, a Senior at Baker High School.
Patrick shared that sentiment.
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