It happens so often, some are now calling it a deadly epidemic.
One filmmaker hopes his documentary will open some eyes to the impact of that split-second decision to send a text while you're driving, something Chandler Gerber learned the hard way.
"You know, it happened in about a second," remembers Gerber. "I mean I had a thousand thoughts going through my mind. As I started coming to a stop, I saw a body come down from off the top of the van. I just thought, 'oh my gosh, what have I done?'"
Gerber was texting behind the wheel when his van hit the back of an Amish buggy and killed three children in Indiana.
His story is just one shared in Werner Herzog's documentary "From One Second to the Next."
Herzog partnered with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon to produce the film along with 30-second ads for the "It Can Wait" campaign.
They hope sharing stories like this will make people more aware of how quickly a simple text can change a life.
"All I can think about is those families - those two men. While I was texting, I decided that texting and driving was more important do me than those two men were to their families," said Reggie Shaw, recalling the fatal accident he caused while texting behind the wheel.
The mobile carriers are sharing the documentary with more than 40,000 high school nationwide as well as safety organizations and government agencies.
Click here to watch the the 30-minute film.