Simulator shows teens dangers of texting and driving

Simulator shows teens dangers of texting and driving

Published  10:55 AM EDT Aug 06, 2014

BALTIMORE —In 2012, more than 3,000 people were killed and more than 400,000 were injured in car crashes caused by distracted driving.

Some high school students got a hands-on lesson Tuesday about the dangers of texting and driving.

“Car crashes are the No. 1 killer of people age 1 to 34. This is an extremely important issue and we feel this is an opportunity to get in front of the leaders in the school so they can take this message back,” said Shelva Clemons with Allstate.

More than 400 student athletes from across the state gathered at North County High School in Glen Burnie for a leadership conference. One of the activities was an Allstate’s driving simulator. The students get behind the wheel and drive wearing a virtual reality visor. Then they’re told to start texting. Most end up swerving and crashing sometimes hitting a pedestrian.

“I thought it would be a lot easier but it was really difficult,” eleventh-grader Clarence McNeary said.

The students said actually getting behind the wheel and experiencing it first hand is much more effective than learning about it in the classroom.

“It was pretty crazy because I was swerving when I was driving I wasn’t even going the speed limit the speed limit was 45 and I was going 25 because I was trying to text I didn’t even get the full text through before I hit a person at the stop light because I didn’t see them,” said 11th-grader Maddie White.

“It really is sort of like a wake-up call that the dangers are real and it’s not something that could happen to a special person. It happens to anybody,” McNeary said.

Organizers hope these students will remember this lesson when the next time they get behind the wheel of a car and share the experience with other students at their school.

“We want them to just realize how important of an issue this really is. We’re really about raising awareness and trying to change behavior, so if we can just have one student who says they’ve learned something and going through the simulator, (that) has made a difference than we feel like we’ve been successful today,” Clemons said.

And judging by the students’ reaction, the simulator had a lasting effect.

McNeary said he will not text and drive and White said, “Never, I don’t already and I’m never going to do it.”