Students are calling the death of a Harrisonville teen a rude awakening. Troopers said 16-year-old Savannah Nash pulled in front of a semi Thursday at Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road.
Savannah was killed in the crash. Investigators believe she may have been texting while driving and they found an unsent text message on her phone.
Classmates said they're grieving, while realizing the dangers of texting and driving.
"We got a notification from our teachers. They said we're just going to take care of each other for today. Just kind of let things sink in," Harrisonville High School student Matthew Stanwix said. "I think it's kind of a rude awakening for everybody."
Troopers said it could be another month before we know exactly what happened behind the wheel Thursday night.
The accident is an opportunity for parents to talk to their teens about texting and driving, but now several smartphone companies have created apps that could put a stop to some of the dangerous behavior.
Texting while driving is becoming as common as driving itself – it seems like just about every driver has one hand on the wheel and another on the phone.
"It is not only a hazard and dangerous where we've lost a lot of people because people think that they have the right to do anything they want when they get behind the wheel," driver Pamela Rucker said.
It's a message Summer Bridges frequently hears from her mom, especially during her teen years.
"It think that's probably when it hit its peak. Probably when we were 14 until 16 is when it got to be a really big issue," she said.
"We talk about it pretty much every day they go on a car trip. They don't listen, but I throw it out there," her mother, Carrie Bridges, said.
But new, potentially life-saving, apps could give parents that power to stop their kids from texting while driving.
DriveOFF, DriveScribe and TextBuster temporarily block or shut down the text and internet feature while a person is driving. The Canary app allows parents to track their children's cell phone use in real time and it will indicate whether they're texting while driving.
"For those who have committed several offenses, certainly it would warrant a parent going to drastic methods to try and stop the child," Rucker said.
"Absolutely, yeah, all my kids need that," Carry Bridges said.
A study by the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York showed texting and driving killed about 3,000 teens annually, compared to drinking and driving, which killed about 2,700.
Missouri law bans texting and driving for anyone under 21. In Kansas, it's illegal for all drivers.
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