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Texting and driving simulator (hopefully) scares kids straight

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Photo: Leila Navidi
Leila Navidi

Green Valley High School | May 23, 2012 | 12:22 p.m.

I often learn alarming facts while on assignment. Scary Fact 1: Drivers traveling at 55 mph will go the length of a football field during the time it takes to send a five-second text message.

I have to admit this: I’m slightly frightened of teen drivers. It’s not often that I hear this while photographing people: “I only hit one kid with my car. Not too bad!” These kinds of phrases were coming out of kids’ mouths last week while they used a texting and driving simulator during driver’s ed class at Green Valley High School. Students were asked to text while they simulated driving, trying to react to virtual obstacles along the way, like people and pets.

Scary Fact 2: Drivers who text while they operate a car are 23 times more likely to be in a crash or near-crash than nondistracted drivers.

Scary Fact 3: A person’s driving ability while texting is similar to that of a drunken driver.

I hope these kids were scared straight. I definitely was.

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