by Ashley Kringen, Reporter April 27, 2012 6:00 PM
South Dakota’s teen injury and death rates from crashes have been among the highest in the nation for the past decade.
Drivers in this state can get behind the wheel as early as 14.
Teens spoke out about the risks of driving at a young age on Friday at the Sioux Falls Best Western Ramkota.
Three years ago, Rachel Holler, 17, was on her way to Lake Preston from Huron with her friend, when they both nearly died in a head on collision with a black truck .
“My main injuries are more of this side of my face and this is right where my plate is and they had to re-attach part of my ear and my lip right here,” said Holler.
Her friend was texting and driving while trying to pass two semi trucks.
“It can happen to anyone and my accident could've been prevented, and the littlest mistake almost cost me my life,” said Holler.
Holler was joined by six other concerned teens all standing up for one cause, teen driving safety.
“I’m glad that I can share my story to prevent it so the parents don't have to get the sheriff or highway patrol and highway patrolman saying your kid won't be coming home anymore,” said Holler.
The kids said they want to get lawmakers' attention, to ask for mandatory drivers education and putting a ban on texting and driving.
A member of the teen driving task force and Captain of the Sioux Falls Police Department, Steve Haney, said the young advocates opened his eyes to their concerns.
“We will taking this information back to the task force and we're researching the problem, were trying to come up with a solution, we're trying to come up with the best avenue and address it,” said Captain Haney.
Holler said she's grateful officials are looking at the serious issues.
“I want to hopefully stop it from happening to anyone else so they don't have to go through what I went through,” said Holler.
South Dakota is one of seven states to not enforce a texting and driving ban.