Virtual driving simulator teaches danger of distracted driving

Historic City News learned that the Florida Department of Transportation has a new tool in its repertoire to help curb distracted and impaired driving among teenage drivers.

Soon to be utilized in schools across North Florida, a driving simulator is being employed that allows students to experience first-hand the dangers and consequences of distracted and impaired driving.

“Distracted and impaired driving are major factors in many crashes that result in injuries or fatalities,” said Greg Evans, FDOT Dist. 2 Secretary. “It is a concerning trend and we hope that this technology can help us warn students of the dangers associated with these acts and prevent future crashes.”

The simulator, Virtual Driver Interactive from One Simple Decision, consists of a large touchscreen computer and steering wheel and the simulator reacts differently based on the scenario pre-selected for the student. The program consists of simulated drives, first-person consequence videos, interactive quizzes, and interactive advice from experts known as “Reality Check” videos.

For example, in the distracted driving mode, students text and dial phone numbers utilizing the touch screen monitor while following the driving instructions presented during the simulation. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

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