Students learn hazards of distracted driving through simulation

Ashanka Kumari

The Student Government Association, along with UA Transportation Services, will sponsor a Professionals Encouraging Educational Reform Statewide Texting and Driving Awareness Simulation in the Ferguson Center Plaza today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

P.E.E.R.S is a program that works through the use of creative material to provide information to today’s youth to help them make healthier life choices, their website states.

SGA Vice President for Student Affairs Stephen Swinson said he approached The Department of Transportation Services with the idea in an attempt to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving.

“It is my hope that our joint efforts to bring this simulator to campus will reduce the number of car accidents caused by distracted drivers,” Swinson said.

At the event, students will be given the chance to operate a stationary car that will simulate a driver texting on their cell phone and the threats it poses. It will also simulate the other distractions, such as using MP3 players.

According to peerawareness.com, texting has been proven to endanger drivers up to eight times more than alcohol. Average teens today send about 2,899 texts per month, according to a recently published Nielsen study.

“[Texting] does nothing but put the driver, other drivers on the road and pedestrians in great danger,” Swinson said.

Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Gina Johnson said students will have an opportunity to test themselves and see what their level of risk is by using the simulator.

“I think it will give people a good idea of how dangerous it is to drive while texting or drive while putting on makeup and all other distractions we think we can risk,” Johnson said.

Swinson said he feels it is extremely important for students to try out the simulator in order to better comprehend how dangerous it is to text while driving.

“Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for youth 16-20 years of age,” he said. “We must make an effort to reduce this statistic.”

For more information about the P.E.E.R.S program, along with other programs that also target healthy life choices, visit peerawareness.com.