Filmmaker Werner Herzog on texting and driving: It's worse than drinking and driving

(CBS News) A new documentary takes on the growing problem of texting and driving. It uses raw emotion and brutal honesty.

Texting while driving is a serious public safety concern. The National Safety Council reports that every year 1.6 million accidents involve drivers using their cell phones and texting. Most states have outlawed it. In fact, it became illegal for Virginia drivers last month. And now, a famous filmmaker is weighing in with a compelling and gritty documentary called "From One Second to the Next," that shows people whose lives are forever changed because of four car accidents, from Milwaukee, Wis., to Burlington, Vt.

Filmmaker's message on texting while driving

Stories told in this 35-minute documentary are to influence anyone who gets behind the wheel, and includes testimony from victims and drivers who admit to texting while driving.

In Bluffton, Ind., a driver named Chandler -- last names are not provided in the documentary -- admits to sending a text message that reads "I love you" just before he caused an accident that killed three people.

In Logah, Utah, another driver named Reggie says, "I decided that texting and driving was more important to me than those two men were to their families."

The documentary was commissioned and paid for by the companies who provide cell phone service, including AT&T and Verizon.

Legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog is the creative force behind the documentary. He has said, "It has become more dangerous in my opinion than drinking and driving."

Herzog is responsible for more than 60 films and is known as a storyteller who explores the extremes in life, from a grizzly bear enthusiast mauled to death by the creature he loved in "Grizzly Man," to a Texas prisoner waiting for his death sentence to be executed in "Into the Abyss."

"I do not fabricate vanilla ice cream emotionality or shock value. It's not in the film," Herzog said. "But it touches, it touches our hearts very deeply."

Herzog insisted on interviewing all of the people profiled in the documentary.

In the documentary, Valetta, the mother whose son Xzavier is now paralyzed, says, "Any mother understands. I can't say, 'go play'."

Also, Chandler, the driver who hit an Amish buggy, killing three people, including a 3-year-old and 5-year-old, pleads in the film, "Please don't ever text and drive. It's life. You get one chance and you live with the choices you make."

Herzog says his message is clear: "Don't text while driving. It's as simple as that," he said. "Pull over. Do your message and then drive on."

The documentary is available online. It will also be distributed this fall to 40,000 schools all over the U.S.

Watch Jan Crawford's full report above.