The technological revolution has given some drivers, particularly teens, a sense of invincibility derived from their seemingly all-powerful communications tools. However, with respect to driving on the roads and highways, the technology is being abused to the extent of becoming a major factor in causing car accidents. In Massachusetts, one auto insurer has teamed up with a university to devise a high-tech way to demonstrate the dangers of texting or using cellphones while driving.
Arbella Insurance joined with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The University developed a trailer that houses certain driving simulator consoles. The insurer launched a free 45-minute training seminar called “Distractology 101” in 2010, which exposes the dangers of distracted driving by use of the driving simulator consoles.
The seminar shows you in real time how quickly a driving situation can change by even a second of distraction from the task of driving. The seminar takes the student through various simulated driving experiences. It demonstrates in a ‘hands on’ way how easy it is to crash when you’ve lost even a momentary lapse of attention.
The seminar actually takes the teen participants through a scenario in which they must send a text message, answer their cell phone, and read a text while driving. These scenarios then provide activities of other cars on the road. During distractions, the situation turns into a serious accident. The program is free to teens that’ve been licensed for three years or less.
This Massachusetts program is innovative and should logically have a real impact on reducing car accidents. The message being learned is: don’t mix your technological communications marvels with the demanding focus required of good old-fashioned safe driving. If the results of the seminar appear to have a statistical improvement on accident occurrences, the program could possibly be exported to schools throughout the country.
Source: SouthCoastToday.com, “Driving without distractions,” John Tessier, June 13, 2013