It's the "old do as I say, not as I do" adage, said Deborah Hersman, president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council.
She says 95% of parents who say they drive distracted admit doing it in front of their teens. "That's just like the grand slam of bad parenting, because you are modeling the wrong behavior, and then you're telling the kids not to do something that they've watched you do potentially for years."
"So if you want your child or adolescent or young adult to not use the technology, you have to model it for them," said Greenfield, who is also an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut's School of Medicine. "They're watching everything you're doing, and they will mimic what you're doing."
Geoff Lee, a father of two boys and president and general manager of Road Atlanta, a racetrack in Braselton, Georgia, admits that he has texted while driving.
"I should know better, so mostly I do know better, but that doesn't mean that there aren't those times when you think, 'OK, well, it is just a second, and I really need to respond to this.' And I am as guilty of it as anybody is," he said. He basically told his high school-age son, who's a new driver, not to follow his lead. His son wouldn't think of it, he said.
"He reminds me of all the responsibilities involved with driving. ... I hope he will pay attention to his advice as I try to heed it now these days as well," Lee said.
Maurer, the mom who admitted looking at a text and killing someone, plead guilty to distracted driving and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Sixteen days were deferred, which meant she spent 14 days in jail last summer and is now in the process of completing 200 hours of community service, sharing her story and warning others about the dangers of using a phone while behind the wheel.
When I asked her whether people might think she should have served a longer sentence in jail, she says that doing the community service has been a much more difficult penalty for her.
"Going and educating people on it has been much harder on me than (jail)," she said. "The day that I give a class ... I am usually going to be depressed when I get home. ... I am not going to be myself, and I am usually going to be quiet and probably go to bed early."
At the same time, she believes harsher penalties may serve as a deterrent for others.
"I think there needs to be the fear of jail for some people, and they need to know how devastating it is and how much you affect so many people's lives," she said. "And so if it will get them to stop doing it, then absolutely I think it should be a harsher punishment, and maybe people will pay attention more."
But even some of her friends, she says -- fellow parents who know her story -- still can't seem to stay away from the phone while driving.
She tells of heading to a baseball game with her husband when a friend, a fellow parent with a child on her son's team, texted her while driving right behind their car.
"When I saw her later, she said, 'I know. I didn't even think.' My attitude is, 'Don't do it just because it's me,' " Maurer said. "I don't want you to do it at all because it's dangerous."
As she has gone across her community, speaking at schools and hospitals and in front of youth groups, she is struck by how widespread distracted driving is.
"It's amazing how many people will say, 'I don't think there's one person who hasn't been in the car with somebody who's been distracted at one point or another in their life,' " she said. As people admit what they have seen or even done themselves, Maurer believes it might help them think twice about doing it again.
"I think this is in a little bit my therapy, because ... I hope if at least I reach one person and they don't make the mistake."