Simulator Proves Texting & Driving Dangers to Teens
Reed High School student Chelsea Sander was driving under the speed limit, minding her own business, when her quick drive turned dangerous. "I went all over the road. And I almost killed a pedestrian." She didn't see the pedestrian, because she was texting. "Yeah. I couldn't even get one word in."
But no harm done this time. The AT&T company brought the dangers of texting and driving today in a new and effective high-tech way. Chelsea was in a simulator…a car with a virtual reality headset that shows what happens while texting and driving. Chelsea admits to texting and driving in real life, "Occasionally. But not anymore."
The simulator, set up at UNR, had the same effect on Hug High junior Alondra Orozco. While texting, she ran off the road 3 times. "I ran over a pedestrian, and drove on the sidewalks." She thought it would be fun. It turned out to be something to think about. "I saw how it affects your concentrating...not paying attention to the road and your surroundings."
Texting is now the leading form of communication among teenagers, who text an average of 60 times a day. They're good at it, but too many think they can drive and text without it affecting their driving. Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley told us, "They think they have the dexterity, the divided attention skills."
The result is deadly. Drivers who text are 23 more times likely to be in an accident or near-accident than a driver who is not texting. And while 97% of teens know texting while driving is dangerous, 43% of them admit to doing so, and 75% said it is common among their friends. The leading distractions while driving are cellphones and texting. The leading cause of death for 15-to-20 year-olds is car crashes.
The sheriff says they won't be cutting any slack over what could be the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel...especially this week. The 4th of July holiday is notorious for being Nevada's most dangerous time on the roads. He told us it's from "Tourism, kids out of school, the kids going from home to recreation at Lake Tahoe or driving down to Las Vegas. Lots of kids on the road."
Along with celebrating drivers and pedestrians. He says more officers will be on the roads for this week's holiday, watching specifically for drivers who text and drive. Haley says they won't be cutting any slack over what could be the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel.
Chelsea says she won't be one of them. As she told us, "I'm never going to text and drive again."
-written by John Potter, Channel 2 News
We have a texting and driving test you can take, along with a video you may want your kids to watch. It's called "the last text." Just click this link: www.att.com/itcanwait
For more information about federal efforts against texting and other driving distractions, go to www.distraction.gov