Simulator shows texting while driving dangers

April 26, 2011 3:18:04 PM PDT
Parents can talk with their teenage kids until their blue in the face about the dangers of texting and driving.

But, put the kids in a life-like situation, trying to drive while texting, and the message hits home.

Students tried it out Tuesday using a simulator at a Connecticut high school.

It's a big day for Brooke Maclean; Tuesday morning she passed her road test.

Tuesday afternoon, she crashed twice.

Thankfully the accidents were only while driving a simulator, meant to highlight the dangers of distracted driving, especially texting while driving.

"It really opened my eyes," Maclean said.

This week students at Ludlowe High School in Fairfield are getting a course in what's been dubbed "Distractology 101".

The $1.4 million simulator runs through six scenarios under different driving conditions.

It was created by a University of Massachusetts professor for the Arbella Insurance Group.

"If we can get it in their heads then they won't become a statistic," said Joanne Berlinski, of the Arbella Insurance Group.

The statistics are alarming: in 2009 20% of all crashes were related to distracted driving, resulting in 5,500 fatalities and a half million people injured.

The exercise seems simple: Students have to read and reply to a text that's been sent to them.

Pulling it off isn't as easy.

Hopefully, it's a nip a growing epidemic in the bud.

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