Simulator teaches students about dangers of texting, driving

Fletcher High School students drive virtual reality simulator

Author: Ashley Mitchem, Morning traffic, news reporter, amitchem@wjxt.com
Published On: May 09 2013 07:16:09 PM EDT   Updated On: May 10 2013 06:48:37 AM EDT
Texting simulator
NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. -

Seventy-five percent of teenagers admit texting while driving is common among their friends. They also say they've seen their parents text and drive.

Last week, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that bans texting while driving. Governor Rick Scott has not yet signed it.

Fletcher High School students were given the chance to drive a virtual reality simulator from AT&T and see first-hand just how dangerous it can be to use your phone behind the wheel.

Neptune Beach Mayor Harriet Pruette was there to support the lesson.

"It only takes a split second for something to happen and you know, a lot of us, especially young people, don't realize the simple things and once somebody is killed or hurt, you can't take it back," said Pruette.

The simulator is just like something you'd play in the arcade. You sit in it, there's a steering wheel, pedals and a monitor.

Police across the country said these simulators are effective.

The Florida Senate accepted a House-amended version of a ban against texting and driving, which is now headed to Scott.

"It was great and I certainly hope that the Governor will go ahead and sign the bill," said Councilor Scott Wiley of the City of Neptune Beach. "I think he has until the 10th. I think it's very important to become law."

One student said if she saw a friend texting and driving, she would tell them how serious the consequences could be.

"If you want to be dead, go ahead and do text, but if you want to live a couple more years, don't do it," said Julissa Santiago, a senior at Fletcher High School.

Students will have the chance to join the "It Can Wait" movement by taking the pledge and making the lifelong commitment to never text and drive. More than 1 million students have already signed it.