ODOT uses simulator to warn of texting and driving
By Tricia Bell, Multimedia Video Journalist - bio | email
Rather than simply telling people about the dangers of distracted driving, officials from the Ohio Department of Transportation have them experience it. ODOT brought their distracted driving simulator to the University of Northwestern Ohio where student Rodney Pompey got behind the wheel.
"I didn't think I was speeding, but I guess it tricked me," said Pompey.
Pompey tried a texting and driving scenario.
"You are driving with a passenger. She's asking you to text her brother and then asking you to turn onto the freeway to take her home," said Rhonda Pees, ODOT.
Other scenarios demonstrate the effects of drinking and driving or using drugs and driving.
Several UNOH students took a turn-- they hit concrete barriers and ran stop signs.
ODOT officials say they brought the simulator to the university for a specific reason.
"We're looking for the 20 and under group. They are the most likely to be involved in accidents because of the distracted driving. So this is exactly where it needs to be," said Pees.
"The program also allows a participant to experience the consequences of distracted driving such as simulating court dates and a trip to the hospital.
Pompey says the simulator reinforces his views about texting and driving. It's a common act he says he stays away from.
"I'm a firefighter back home, so I see the outcomes of people who text and drive," said Pompey.