Florida Atlantic University recently partnered with AT&T to drive home the point to Florida students about the dangers of texting while driving. In addition to the mandatory Drug & Alcohol course required for all first time drivers and classroom instruction such as the Drive to Save Lives tour hosted by the Florida Department of Transportation which focuses on peer pressure and the dangers of destructive decisions, this program from AT&T brought in unique technologies to give students a first-hand look of the consequences of their actions.
Using a driving simulator, teens and young adults were able to participate in an exercise to see how texting will affect driving, but in a safe, simulated environment. The simulator includes a steering wheel, phone, pedals and a screen which displays a street scene. Holding the wheel with one hand and a phone with the other, participants can watch their progress down a simulated street while trying to remain focused. Not surprisingly, most participants were guilty of running red lights, weaving between lanes, and bumping in to curbs. You can read more about the simulator program at the Sun Sentinel website.
So what can you do to make sure your teen is prepared for the road and aware of the dangers? First, make sure they have completed their mandatory Drug & Alcohol course with GDL Institute. Next, have an open and honest discussion about the dangers of distracted driving. Not everyone has access to a driving simulator like the one mentioned above, but consider sharing a link to this “distracted driving game” which allows a player to see first-hand how a quick glance at a text message can have lasting repercussions, but safely from a home PC. Finally, remember that Florida’s new texting and driving law goes into effect on October 1st. Set expectations with your teen before they get behind the wheel, and let them know of any punishments, such as reduced driving privileges, if they are caught driving distracted or cited for a texting while driving violation.