Valdosta Daily Times

October 8, 2012

Texting can wait

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Teens are indestructible, or at least that’s what they think. Nothing bad is going to happen to them. And yet the number of teens injured and killed each year due to texting while driving continues to escalate, despite efforts to educate them about the dangers.

To drive the message home, Valdosta State University went one step farther Monday by bringing a texting and driving simulator on campus for students to try out. Rather than standing in a classroom lecturing about the dangers or handing out flyers listing the statistics, this hands-on demonstration was the best way to show students just how dangerous their phone habits can be.

The simulator, built into a car frame, prompted students to text while they were driving on a track. Students hit trees, buildings, cars and pedestrians on the simulator. Many said they had no idea how fast the car will travel in a short time. Even taking their eyes away for a couple of seconds made all the difference in whether or not they had an accident in the simulator.

Lessons like this need to be a permanent part of the culture at area schools.

Drunk driving simulators have been around for years, and teens are generally aware of the dangers, but texting is a relatively new phenomenon. Unfortunately, far too many are losing their lives before learning the lesson that driving while distracted by anything that takes their eyes off the road can be deadly.

Kudos to VSU for sponsoring the simulator for the students and the area high schools should consider doing so as well. Telling teens not to do something only makes it more attractive. Letting them find out on their own how dangerous texting is in a simulator may save their life one day on the highway.