Simulator program shows dangers of texting while driving

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Drive Smart division is using a simulator program to educate the public, particularly young drivers, on the hazards of distracted driving, WKMS reports. A study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project says young people between the ages of 12 and 17 send an average of 100 texts a day. The trend is worrisome, because teenagers often don’t put away their phones when they get behind the wheel. Students at Murray High School in Murray, Ky., recently tried out the Distracted Driving, or “D2,” Simulator. The machine looks like a NASCAR arcade game, and it’s designed to recreate the driving experience as accurately as possible. Students provide their own distractions. “I want you to find a text message that someone has sent to you and read it out loud to me,” Kentucky Young Drivers Program Manager Shane Ratcliff says as he directs a 16-year-old through the simulator. The simulation ends and Ratcliff explains the statistics that pop up on the screen. Before the student realized it, a stop sign was on screen for 4.3 seconds, and the car had traveled over four hundred feet. In total, the car took six hundred feet to stop. “Well, I’m dead. Now put the phone away, and we’ll do it again while you’re paying attention, and we’ll show you how much different it is,” Ratcliff tells the student. He says most young people don’t listen to a warning about distracted driving, but when they see it for themselves, the result is different…

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