Teen Drivers Learn Dangers of Texting Behind the Wheel Through Simulation Exercise
Thursday, May 24, 2012 - 03:53 PM
(Houston, TX -- Gail Delaughter, KUHF) The texting and driving simulators are like the ones used to simulate drunk driving, except in this one you're constantly glancing between the computer-generated roadway on your simulation goggles, and the phone keypad you're clasping under the steering wheel.
Like in any video game, a loud crash signals you've messed up. Come to find out, I was on the wrong side of the road the entire exercise.
My simulation was conducted by Dylan Richardson with Peers Awareness, a firm that puts on simulation exercises for young drivers. He says no one gets it right. "All people have some type of infraction, or they will crash."
A local TV station brought along two sisters who drive race cars. Even they couldn't do it.
The event in front of Houston City Hall was sponsored by AT&T to mark the 100 deadliest days for teens to be on the road, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. AT&T Regional Vice-President Alice Aanstoos says a new driver with a smart phone is a dangerous combination, considering it takes about five seconds to look at a text. She says the simulator ride proves to be a rude awakening for teens who think they're experts at multi-tasking behind the wheel.
"Because they realize that, again, just one split second from looking away from the road can cause troubles. We haven't seen a single person actually pass this simulator test without either some sort of accident, a wreck, or some kind of infraction."
Aanstoos says it's not just teens who text while driving. She says adults do it too, and often they're texting their own kids while sitting at a red light.
"I hear a lot of them say it's okay to just check their phone and read a text at a red light or something because they're obviously not moving, so it's okay, right? But that's dangerous too."
You can listen to the KUHF story here.