February 16, 2012
In an effort to teach motorists in the Chapel Hill area about the dangers of texting and driving, a simulator was set up on the campus of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill earlier this week that puts a driver through a series of obstacles while they attempt to use a cellular device. According to reports from WRAL News, the event, which was sponsored by both the town and the town’s police force, was eye opening.
One University freshman who went through the simulator, called DriveSquare, stated that it took her about 10 seconds in the simulator before she crashed. The University’s head football coach who participated reported not faring much better. Both stated the simulator helped them realize that the risk of using a cell phone behind the wheel far outweighs the benefits.
It’s a realization that officials hope more drivers will come to. The state Department of Transportation estimates that 13,000 are injured and 119 die each year in distracted driving crashes.
The event comes just days before a public hearing is to be held to discuss a citywide ordinance that would make all cell phone use illegal while driving. This would be in addition to the statewide ban against texting while driving.