Simulator demonstrates dangers of texting and driving

Despite state laws prohibiting it, many people still text, take a call, or even check an app while driving. A new simulator aims to break you of that habit by putting students in the driver’s seat.

Ever glanced away from the road when you get a text or app alert? Admit it. Most of us have done it. SIU freshman Thomas Corcoran said he knows he shouldn’t, but it’s hard to resist.

"I’ve been guilty of texting and driving before. I’ve done it while I’m parked or I’m at stoplights," said Corcoran.

"There’s been a recent surge in people posting, tweeting, using other social media while they’re driving. So, its not just texting and driving anymore. It’s distracted driving with their phones," said Chris Warwick, AT&T Director of External Affairs.

Warwick said hundreds of thousands of accidents every year are attributed to distracted driving, and he hopes their simulator helps convince students not only to put down their phones but to make their friends do the same.

Warwick said four in 10 people admit to using their phones while driving. That’s why they’re out hitting college campuses like SIU with their four dimensional texting and driving simulator.

The simulator is designed to give you an idea of what it’s like to be on your phone while you’re behind the wheel and show you just how dangerous it can be to check your phone while you drive.

You glance down quickly, no problem. Then you send a quick text.

"It became more and more obvious. You were picking up your phone and looking at it, and then the close calls became closer and closer," Corcoran said.

Until you crash.

The simulator shows the driver texting being T-boned by another vehicle when merging into an intersection while not looking: a shocking sight for many students at SIU Wednesday.

Corcoran said he won’t be texting and driving after using the simulator. He said this is enough to stop him, and now he’s hoping others put down their phones, too.

More than eight million people have signed AT&T’s pledge not to text and drive. You can join the movement and pledge online.

Every state has different laws on using handheld devices while driving.

In Illinois, it’s a primary offense for you to use a handheld device while driving. Texting and driving is also illegal.

In Tennessee, cell phone use while driving is prohibited for school bus drivers and for those with their learners permits. Texting and driving is illegal.

In Missouri, bus drivers and other commercial drivers are not allowed to use cell phones while driving. Texting and driving is illegal for drivers younger than 21 years old.  Both are primary offenses.

In Kentucky, drivers under 18 years old and school bus drivers are not allowed to use cell phones while driving. Texting and driving is illegal.

For more information or to find out what your state law is, click here.  

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