Stuarts Draft High – VA

Simulation Shows Students Why Texting While Driving Is Illegal

Waynesboro, Va.
Students were placed in a virtual reality simulator and asked to read and respond to texts while driving.

Posted: 5:55 PM Feb 17, 2011
Reporter: Janelle Lilley

If you talk or text while driving, it looks like you won’t be getting pulled over for it, at least for another year.

On Thursday, a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee killed a bill that would have banned using a cell phone while driving, eventually making it a primary offense for which police could pull you over.

Currently, texting while driving is against the law but only as a secondary offense.

However, at Stuarts Draft High School this week, students learned why texting and driving is dangerous and illegal.

Students were placed in a virtual reality simulator and asked to read and respond to texts.

Many jumped into the car confidently, some who admitted to texting while driving. Though some students bragged that they didn’t even need to look at the phone to text, all of them ended up driving erratically or hitting a simulation pedestrian.

“I hit a person. I didn’t hit another car. I hit an actual pedestrian, and I killed him. So, it kind of got to me knowing that I killed somebody and that I could actually kill somebody in the real world,” says student and expert ‘texter’ Kayla Lowe.

She says she has, on very rare occasions, texted while driving but says after this simulation, even those times will never be repeated.

The Students Against Distracted Driving club sponsor Martha Mikell says seeing other students’ terrible driving while texting seemed to make a bigger impact on the students than failing the test themselves.

“I think giving them the chance to do it themselves is the only thing that will matter, and I know a lot of them still will, but my hope is that when they pick up their phone there will be a voice in the back of their head that says, ‘Oh man, this is not a good idea,'” explains Mikell.