Teens learn dangers of texting and driving through virtual reality

11 months 5 days 17 hours ago March 24, 2016 Mar 24, 2016 Thursday, March 24 2016 Thursday, March 24, 2016 1:35:00 PM CDT in News
By: Nick Yahl, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Hickman High School students had a chance to learn about the dangers of texting and driving through the use of virtual simulators on Thursday.  

Teenage drivers make up 13 percent of distracted driving fatalities, the most for any age group according to the Missouri Department of Insurance. 

Matt Pritchard with AT&T said, "Most of the students that have tried out the simulator all crashed or were pulled over by a police officer for driving too slow, while trying to send a text." 

Pritchard said he hopes this simulator will make students more aware of the possible dangers from distracted driving. 

"It can wait. Whether your texting and driving or trying to eat on the road, it can wait. Nothing is more important than putting your phone down and waiting," Pritchard said. 

AT&T also offers an app called Drive Mode that sends an automatic text to people that send you a text to let them know you're driving. 

Verizon and Sprint offer similar apps called Sprint Drive First and Verizon's Safely Go. 

Pritchard said as a phone company they are concerned with distracted drivers texting.

"We are AT&T and we are the phone company and you're using our devices, but it can wait. There's nothing more important, there is no life more important to us than yours," Pritchard said.  

Hickman planned on having a golf cart course where students could test what it's like to text and drive, but bad weather caused the school to cancel. 

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