In 2011, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey of over 15,000 teenagers nationwide, asking them questions on the topic of distracted driving. Of the thousands polled, 58 percent admitted that they use their cell phones while they drive, either for texting, emailing, or surfing the internet. With over 3,000 lives lost to distracted driving related accidents in 2010, can we afford to let our teens underestimate the risks of texting while driving?
No, we can't. Which is why more states should follow the Ohio Department of Transportation's lead and invest in some of the current innovations in distracted driving education, such as the simulator One Simple Decision, a creation of Virtual Driver Interactive Inc.
One Simple Decision is a driving simulator which places teens in a virtual reality distracted driving crash, taking them through the impact of the crash and ensuing interactions with police and medical personnel. Teens start by simply driving down the road on the simulator and, after time, are prompted to pull out their cell phones and start texting someone. The teen driver subsequently veers off the road and is involved in a crash -- often a collision with another driver -- which results with live-action footage of a police officer approaching the car and questioning the driver.
The One Simple Decision simulator takes an abstract concept and makes it real for teens, demonstrating firsthand the real-life consequences of distracted driving. The idea is a refreshing way to impress upon our nation's youth the growing danger posed by driver distraction in the U.S. And Virtual Driver Interactive Incorporated's post-simulator surveys have shown promising results: more than 80 percent of teens who participated in One Simple Decision resolved to never text and drive again. Maybe "never" is an unreachable goal, but the very fact that teens are becoming aware of this danger is a step in the right direction.
For more information on technology which aims to reverse ongoing distracted driving accident trends, see some of the articles on the Kreithen, Baron & Carpey website, like our article, "The Fight Against Distracted Driving Moves Forward -- New Initiatives, New Technology Hope to Quash the Texting Epidemic." That article describes new gadgets and mobile apps which inhibit a driver's ability to use his or her cell phone while at the wheel.