Videos, technology try to mitigate distracted driving, but it's still up to you

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LOL.

That's what a teenage boy texted to a friend while driving -- right before he hit a cyclist and killed him.

This young man lives daily with the guilt that those three letters cost a man his life. And this teen learned a lesson in personal responsibility, at a very high cost.

That's just one of the dramatic stories in a 10 minute documentary video AT&T is aiming at teens leading up to New Year's Eve. The hope is that young people -- although I would argue that people of all ages need the same lesson -- will see it and be less sure of their invincibility, and more mindful about texting while driving.

It feels like I'm always blogging about distracted driving. I've blogged about how drivers talking on their cell phones nearly hit me while I walked my dog. I've bellyached about texting and driving impeding traffic. I have even argued that systems designed to mitigate distraction, such as Ford Motor Co.'s MyFord Touch, create a new set of distractions.

But if people aren't going to change their behavior, systems such as MyFord Touch and General Motors Co.'s OnStar probably are the best options in the attempt to keep drivers' attention on the road. Drivers could at least use audio to hear text messages and voice commands to respond. Drivers can also set their system to not disturb them with incoming texts and phone calls.

One catch: Those options still rely on drivers to police themselves to use it.

That brings us right back to personal responsibility.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com. -- Follow Jamie on Twitter

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