Great Hang Up: Texting & driving simulator

10:05 AM, Jun 16, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Parents and teachers can preach about the dangers of texting and driving, but sometimes teenagers need to see it for themselves.

Students at Pepin Academy in Tampa recently had the chance to test out how dangerous distracted driving is, without having to actually take to the road.

Allstate Insurance and U.N.I.T.E. International stopped by the school as part of a two week statewide tour.  Their Arrive Alive program uses a high-tech simulator and video to educate students about the dangers of distracted driving in a controlled environment.

In the simulator, students sit behind the wheel of a real car--without its battery--outfitted with sensors on the steering wheel, gas and break pedals.  They wear virtual reality glasses and try and pilot the car on a simulated road.

In the middle of their drive, they receive a text message and have to respond.

"Most of them will end up committing some reckless driving," said Storn Olson from UNITE International.  "And over half end up in an actual wreck."

10 News watched as the students swerved, left the road, crossed the center line and often crash.

Senior Matthew Dial told us he never texts and drives, but admitted sometimes he catches his mother doing it.

"And most of the time I try to tell her she needs to hand me the phone so I can do it for her," said Dial. "So her eyes can be on the road and not on her phone."


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