Simulation Exercise Shows Teens the Dangers Of Texting While Driving

carI'm in a car with simulation goggles to see if I can text while driving without getting in a wreck.

As part of the exercise you have to constantly glance back and forth between a computer-generated roadway and the keypad of your phone.

Good thing it was only a simulation.

Come to find out I was on the wrong side the road the entire time.

"Nobody really does well, like, usually, all people have some type of infraction, or they will crash."  

That's Dylan Richardson with Peers Awareness, a company that put on simulation events for students to show the dangers of driving while impaired or distracted. This Houston event is sponsored by AT&T. It marks the beginning of the 100 deadliest days for teens to be on the road. That's the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. AT&T Regional Vice-President Alice Aanstoos.

"You put a brand new driver — a 16-or-17 year-old-driver behind the wheel with his smart phone — it's a dangerous combination."

Aanstoos cites figures showing that it takes about five seconds to look at a text, and that's plenty of time for an accident to happen.  She says a ride in the simulator is a rude awakening for teens who think they're experts at texting and driving.

"Because they realize that, again, just one split second from looking away from the road can cause troubles. We haven't seen a single person actually pass this simulator test without either some sort of accident, a wreck, or some kind of infraction."

Aanstoos says it's not just the kids who text while driving. She says adults do it too, and often they're texting their kids while sitting at a red light.

"I hear a lot of them say it's okay to just check their phone and read a text at a red light or something because they're obviously not moving, so it's okay, right?  But that's dangerous too."

The U.S. Department of Transportation says in 2010 about 18% of injury accidents were the result of distracted driving. 

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