Texting & Driving Simulator Shows Student Drivers Dangers at Lee High School


By Alabama News Network

Texting while driving. We've heard police preach the dangers a million times. 
"How many people are going to say, hey look I was texting? Or I was on the telephone or I wasn't paying attention?" Too many, explains Montgomery County Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham.
Even though it is illegal to text and drive in Alabama, Cunningham says the law isn't stopping drivers, especially teens, from putting themselves in danger.
Wednesday AT&T brought a texting and driving simulator to Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery as part of its nationwide campaign "It Can Wait", which raises awareness about texting dangers.
More than one hundred junior and senior students, faculty, city leaders and law enforcement sat down in the simulator - everyone failed.
The simulator is a video game set up in a city street grid. As the driver navigates, a series of text messages are sent to a phone nearby. The driver must respond to the messages while controlling the vehicle, maintaining the speed limit and not crashing into traffic.
"It was a lot harder than I expected, you know, I thought I could do it, I could sit there and look at the phone and read it, but it was hard," said Heath Fike, a senior student. "I really didnt expect it to be that hard."
Chief Depty Cunningham says the simulator shows how easy it is to be involved in an accident.
"You get a text, never thinking that you take your eyes off of the road that fast, and then to have cars pulling out in front of you," he said.
And after going through a fake crash, most Lee High School students say the simulator opened up their eyes to the realities on Montgomery's roads.
"I dont think there is any technique you can use in order to text and drive and still not crash," one student using the simulator said.
If caught texting while driving in Alabama, drivers could face anywhere from a $25-75 fine. 
AT&T is asking you to take an online pledge, not to text while you're behind the wheel. 

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