HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - A new report just out from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has some very alarming news in it for the Heartland.
We are home to some of the most dangerous roads for teen drivers in the nation.
The national highway traffic and safety administration looked at teenage drivers deaths in the first six months of 2012 for their study.
Teen drivers deaths jumped nineteen percent nationwide compared to the same time period one year earlier.
At Herrin high school they focus on safety behind the wheel with their Operation Teen Safe Driving program.
"As a teacher I just try to keep emphasizing don't use the phone," said Herrin H.S. Drivers Education Instructor Rick Grunert. "Just leave the phone along until you can answer it in a safe position."
But, not using their cell phones isn't always easy for teenagers, even when they're driving.
"Texting and driving is a really big deal. Because I know sometimes my Mom texts me, I have to text right back," said Brandy Miller a Herrin H.S. Student. "Because nothing feels like you can wait. And texting is a really big deal because we've all grown up with it."
In Illinois there are laws that prohibit teens from using their cell phones when they're behind the wheel, except in the case of an emergency.
And they can only have one passenger in the car during their first year on the road.
"If you only have one person in the car you're going to have less distractions. Because you get a group of teenagers in the car you've got a lot of distractions going on," said Grunert.
But, sometimes teen drivers don't pay attention to the law, or think about being safe when driving.
"Nobody thinks something bad is going to happen to them until something bad does happen," said Miller.
Herrin High School also gets their student's parents involved in their Drivers Education Program to help keep their kids safe behind the wheel.
According to the study by the NHTSA.....Indiana and Tennessee lead the nation in teen driver fatalities, with 16 in each.
Louisiana had 15, Texas had 14, and there were 12 deaths each in Alabama,