Teen racecar driver using car to teach youth not to text and drive

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BOCA RATON, FL (CNN) -- A teen racecar driver is trying to warn people about the dangers of distracted driving -- and he's using his car spread his message.

17-year-old Tristan Nunez of Boca Raton, Florida started racing go-carts at age 13, and then graduated to race cars at age 15 -- before he was licensed to drive.

"My mom and myself actually feel safer driving on a racetrack with professional drivers than driving on the regular road with people who have no idea what they're doing," Nunez said.

"At that speed, any little distraction can be an injury, can be death," Nunez said.

Nunez says before the start of the 2012 racing season, a little distraction off the track nearly created a major problem.

"I was with my mom in the car and we almost got in an accident because she was Facebooking, e-mailing, whatever -- just distracted," Nunez said.

"We almost rear-ended somebody. That's when it really hit us. He's like, 'Mom, you gotta put the phone down,'" Diane Nunez said.

Nunez and his mother had an idea: to inspire others, especially young people to put the phone down by branding his car the don't text and drive car.

"We put it all over the car and on his suit and on the website and it just took off," Diane Nunez said.

Hundreds of teens have pledged not to text and drive. Some have even signed Nunez' car as part of a pledge.

"It's just distracting. You get caught up in another world. Completely separate from what you're trying to do," Nunez said.

"There's not really a lot of teenaged racecar drivers out there, so it was definitely good for them to go onto a teenager's car," Diane Nunez said.

"I know we're not going to stop it, but at least we're going to bring more awareness to people," Nunez said.

Nunez says the key to his success on the track is the same to staying safe on the roads.

"You have to have 100 percent focus. You can't lose focus for any reason at all," Nunez said.

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