TODAY   |  May 20, 2013

Teen loses eye from texting while driving

Amanda Kloehr suffered a horrible car accident when she took her eyes off the road to send a text, and is now devoted to promoting safe driving habits. Teen Vogue’s Amy Astley joins to say that parents can help impact their kids’ behavior and keep them safe behind the wheel.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

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>>> duh, it depends on what you were arrested for. huh?

>> huh.

>> yes, it's okay. because it's probably going to be your most-viewed shot. sadly.

>>> we're back on this monday with more of "today." one of the biggest concerns for anyone who has a teenager -- texting and driving.

>> 62% of girls use a cell phone behind the wheel and nearly half of who is girls are texting or emailing. and one of them could be your daughter.

>> amanda clear knows all about this. too well. she survived an awful accident while texting and driving. amy ashley is the editor in chief of " teen vogue " magazine which covers this topic. including amanda 's story.

>> so happy you're here to tell your story. that was a brutal, brutal crash. we want to warn everybody, hoda. because some of the images we're going to see can be pretty upsetting.

>> pretty graphic.

>> you were driving. and you were on your phone, you're not sure if it was the exact point of impact. but you did have your phone going. explain what you remember of what happened to you that day.

>> i was stationed at mcguire air force in new jersey, i'm an air force veteran. i was going to see friends that lived in virginia.

>> five hours away.

>> yeah. about. so i was going to see them. and it was a long trip. you know and you're by yourself. you're trying to keep yourself entertained and you've got the cell phone going. with texting, updating facebook, talking on the phone. you have not only that, but the gps. and --

>> there's a lot --

>> radio.

>> all of those things. you know there's a number of distractions happening. and it always happens so fast. and i mean i can't remember which one of those things i was doing specifically at the point of impact.

>> she said it was pretty much all of those things during the course of that drive.

>> you ran into another car, right?

>> right. i hit the back end of a tractor-trailer that had a forklift on the back of it.

>> terrible crash.

>> look at her car.

>> dear god , how you survived is nothing short of miraculous.

>> you were in a coma for a while?

>> i was in a coma. it was a medically induced coma . i was in there for about a week.

>> i can't believe you came out of that.

>> you lost your right eye.

>> uh-huh.

>> and amy, when you -- this story is obviously a very dramatic portion of the story. this is something that's happening, you found with a lot of young girls, especially.

>> yeah, i mean " teen vogue " has partnered with toyota to raise awareness of the scourge of distracted driving. it's not just a teen problem. it's everybody's problem. and grown-ups are doing it, too. one of the most incredible things i'm learning is parents have so much impact on children's behavior. we think parents are ignoring us, but actually we're modeling for them. we asked mothers and daughters to go on our website, to sign a pledge, they will not drive with distractions, which is a big deal to commit to. i think if mothers and daughters can do this together, they'll have great influence, like drunk driving .

>> i was waiting for an important call yesterday and i was on the way to pick up cody and my phone rings, you have to fight the urge. you find a safe place to pull off and you answer it. most things are not so urgent that you can't -- can't put them on -- you know, on hold for ten seconds to find a safe place to be.

>> and that's the message, with kids, you know, they've grown up with these cell phones , they're attached to their hands, amanda has talked about it. all kids have talked about it. they feel it's rude not to respond.

>> the research shows that you're still distracted. it's better to put the phone away. turn it off, there are great apps you can download. you can find them on that will answer the cphone for you.

>> on the car, everything is electronic and the gps, sometimes they're in the car and you have to punch it in as you're doing your thing. all that stuff. i mean are people -- are young kids listening to you? because clearly you have a strong message, do you feel like you're making an impact?

>> i can only hope so. i do what i do because it means so much to me. because it's not easy to get up and relive those moments. but i just feel like if i can save only one person's life, then it's worth it.

>> i appreciate it about what you write. you take responsibility for it. it's a terrible thing that happened to you. but you know what you were doing. you're the cause of it.

>> right.

>> thank god you didn't hurt anybody else.

>> right.

>> it's because of that that you're spreading the word.

>> we're proud of you sweetheart. we're glad you're here.