SALINAS, Calif. - On Saturday, California Highway Patrol officers from Hollister-Gilroy and Monterey paired with Natividad Medical Center in Salinas to hold an event to show just how dangerous distracted driving is.
CHP says Monterey and San Benito counties are ranked in the top 10 in the state for number of teen deaths as a result of distracted driving and that's not a statistic they can ignore.
Each year, around 4,000 teens are killed in distracted driving accidents in the U.S. That's thousands of deaths that CHP says are 100% preventable.
Dozens of teens and parents attended Saturday's event in hopes of learning ways to keep themselves and their kids safer on the road.
San Jose Fire Department Capt. Christopher Salcido also spoke out Saturday. He lost his 15-year-old daughter, Natalia, in a distracted driving crash in May of 2015.
He said she was driving with several friends when another passenger pulled out their phone to take a photo for Snapchat. The driver of the car posed for the picture while going over 70 mph and didn’t see the turn in the road ahead.
Instead of turning with the road, she crashed straight into a tree, instantly killing her just days before her 16th birthday.
Salcido said he hasn’t been able to hug her in close to four years and never wants another parent to go through that.
On Saturday, there was also an option for drivers to go through an obstacle course while distracted by their phones to see how driving while not paying attention for just a moment can hinder their abilities.
Other first responders and medical staff took the time to share how these collisions have impacted their lives. They say each young crash victim or patient who loses a life also sticks with them.
Assembly member Robert Rivas was also there, talking about a new bill he proposed that would raise the age for California driver's license provisions and restrictions to 21, rather than the current age of 18.
For more information on that bill, click here.