Don’t text and drive! It’s a message we bring you on WTRF daily through a PSA, and now students in Jefferson County are getting some hands on experience with its dangers.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol made their first stop of the week with the driving simulator at Catholic Central High School Tuesday morning. This simulator shows in real time what can happen when you take your eyes off of the road.
“It gives them the opportunity to see what can happen when you’re driving down the road and you’re texting,” said ODOT Transportation Administrator Ty Justice. “Whether a dog jumps out in front of you or a ball rolls out or a pedestrian in a cross walk, people pulling out in front of you at stop signs, so it gives them that whole theory of what can happen and we’re trying to get out to the public that its a dangerous situation.”
“When you take your eyes off of the road, it gets pretty dangerous and you can end somebody’s life and you don’t mean to,” said CCHS senior Luke Coniker.
The simulator is a lot harder than it looks.
“It shows the actual consequences and instead of doing it in real life– it’s virtual– so I actually didn’t hit somebody, fortunately, but it shows how serious it is and how you should just focus on driving and not look at your phone, because it can wait,” Coniker added.
According to the CDC, each day in the United States, more than eight people are killed and nearly 1,200 injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. They’re trying to lower that number for teens through programs like this one.
“(My friends and I) put our phones in the cup holder and leave them there and if somebody does happen to call us, we just have the person in the passenger (seat) pick up the phone and we just tell them what to say so we can keep our eyes on the road and get to our destination,” Coniker said.
Throughout the rest of the week, Trooper Tim Zook and ODOT employees will take the simulator to Steubenville Big Red and Toronto High School.