Simulator educates students on texting and driving dangers
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary teamed up with a local law firm to bring a new driver education program to high schools in Newfoundland and Labrador to promote awareness about the dangers of texting while driving.
The program, put together by police and the law firm Roebothan, McKay and Marshall, provides students with a driving simulator to test their ability to drive and text at the same time.
Valerie Hynes, a lawyer with the firm, said accidents caused by texting while driving are on a steady incline.
"Pedestrians are struck down, drivers are rear ended, cars full of passengers go off the road," she said. "Sometimes we know the cause, sometimes we don't, but often times texting while driving is part of the problem."
RNC Const. Kevin Foley said these incidents are now up there with other serious causes of accidents.
"What we're seeing now is distracted driving is joining alcohol and speeding as the leading major causes or factors in the cause of motor vehicle collisions," Foley said.
Message getting through
Kurtis Thornhill said his simulated drive was going smoothly, until he picked up his phone and hit a light pole.
"I started off well, and then they asked me to start texting a guy, so I started texting him and that sort of worked out, but then I missed a turn so I tried to recover, but then I went head on at a light," Thornhill said.
"Definitely wouldn't actually want to do that."
Student Haley MacIsaac had a somewhat more traumatic experience.
"I did run over the dog, and I missed a couple turns, too," she said.
"But I will definitely take the pledge and I will not be texting while I'm driving."