High School Students Experience Simulator on Dangers of Texting and Driving

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS EXPERIENCE SIMULATOR ON DANGERS OF TEXTING AND DRIVING
Posted on 12/02/2016
This is the image for the news article titled HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS EXPERIENCE SIMULATOR ON DANGERS OF TEXTING AND DRIVINGAs Wisconsin marks the 6th anniversary of its texting while driving ban this December, nearly 750 students at Verona Area High School learned today about the dangers of smartphone activities while driving and had the chance to experience the hazards firsthand when two distracted driving simulators visited the school.

simulator

Verona Area High School teamed up with AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol as part of the It Can Wait® campaign to remind students that smartphone activity should wait until after driving. Teens were also encouraged to sign a pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.

officer talks

“In today’s connected society, we see many drivers engaging in unsafe smartphone activities,” said Verona Area School District health teacher Carly Hasse. “We want our students to understand how dangerous and potentially deadly this behavior can be and hope our teens take our message to heart."

The AT&T virtual reality driving simulator is visiting Verona Area High School as part of AT&T’s nationwide tour to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The simulator gives students the chance to virtually experience what happens when you text and drive.

car crash

The effort is part of AT&T’s It Can Wait® campaign, which has expanded from a focus on texting while driving to include other smartphone activities now common behind the wheel.

“When we launched the It Can Wait campaign five years ago, our message was simple – no text is worth a life,” said Scott T. VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin. “The same applies to other smartphone activities. We are urging drivers, especially teens, to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phones.”

During a school assembly, students heard from speakers about the dangers of distracted driving, watched a video called “The Last Text” about lives altered by someone’s decision to text and drive, and experienced AAA’s distracted driving simulator.

The event was part of a series of high school assemblies AT&T, AAA and the Wisconsin State Patrol are holding this school year to drive home the dangers of distracted driving and encourage students to take the pledge.

Research from AT&T shows 7 in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent, but 4 in 10 drivers also tap into social media. Over 25 percent are on Facebook, 1 in 7 are on Twitter, almost 3 in 10 surf the net, and surprisingly, 1 in 10 video chat.

“As technology has evolved, the type of smartphone distractions for drivers has grown,” said State Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb). “Not only are drivers texting, but they are also emailing, scrolling through Facebook and even taking videos when their focus should be on the road. The goal of the It Can Wait campaign is to educate drivers about the dangers and encourage them to put their phones down when they are behind the wheel.”

On December 1, 2016, Wisconsin marked the 6 year anniversary of its ban on texting while driving.

“If you text while driving, your hands are not on the steering wheel, your eyes are not on the road, and your attention is not on the traffic and road conditions around you,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Stephen Fitzgerald. “Texting while driving will, without a doubt, increase your risk of causing a crash or failing to avoid one. You are putting yourself, your passengers, and everyone else on the road in grave danger.”

AT&T first launched the It Can Wait® campaign in 2010 to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and encourage people to take the pledge to not text and drive at www.ItCanWait.com.

The campaign has now expanded and turned into a national social movement with support from organizations all over the country, including the Wisconsin State Patrol and AAA. Since 2010, AT&T, AAA and the State Patrol have partnered together to hold events in over 100 cities throughout Wisconsin, reaching over 40,000 high school students.

The It Can Wait campaign has inspired over 12.7 million pledges not to text and drive across the country. Visit www.ItCanWait.com to learn more.
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