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What happens when you text and drive?

Douglas County Safe Communities Coalition, along with Casey's Amusement Park and Dilley Zimny Insurance, will provide an opportunity for teens to test their ability to drive while distracted under safe, controlled conditions.

Teens ages 14-17, accompanied by at least one parent, are encouraged to attend the distracted driving event on Monday, May 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Casey's Amusement Park in Alexandria.

The event will assist teens in making better decisions behind the wheel and to reinforce the important role parents play in influencing their teen to drive safely.

Teens will have the opportunity to drive a go-cart while sending and receiving text messages with their parents.

Along with the on-track driving experience, teens and parents will attend three additional stations. Professionals in the community, including law enforcement, emergency medical service, public health, attorneys and insurance, will speak about the responsibilities of driving, teen driving laws, driving risks and the impact one car crash could have on a teen's life.

"We want teens to leave knowing how one meaningless, senseless text message could impact their life," said Crystal Hoepner, Coalition coordinator.

"One text or call while driving could wreck it all for them financially, socially, physically and legally, and ultimately leave their family and community to grieve for their life lost in a crash that more than likely could have been prevented," Hoepner said.

Pre-registration for the event is required by calling Public Health at (320) 762-3054 or register online at

The distracted driving event is linked to the state's core traffic safety initiative, Towards Zero Deaths.