Last year in Virginia, 76 people died and nearly 10,000 people were injured in crashes involving teenage drivers. Teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than any other age group.
DRIVE SMART Virginia offers interactive driver education programs to secondary schools across the Commonwealth. The culmination of this program is a distracted driving simulator funded by State Farm Insurance. It is a high-tech tool installed in a full-size vehicle that allows teens to experience the dangers of distracted driving.
“Driving simulators provide teens with the opportunity to practice their driving skills in a controlled and safe setting,” said Michal Brower, State Farm spokesperson for Virginia. “We are proud to support this program and to offer teenagers the opportunity to prepare for the different situations they may encounter on the road. This is to encourage safe driving.
DRIVE SMART Virginia will present this program at North Cross School in Roanoke on October 26and. In addition to the simulator, students will learn impaired driving as they attempt to navigate traffic cones while riding adult-sized tricycles and wearing goggles that affect visual balance cues.
“Car crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens and most of these crashes are caused by driver error. We are trying to find innovative ways to impact driver behavior,” said Janet Brooking , Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia “DRIVE SMART Virginia has run focus groups for teens and we have found that interactive education is the most effective way to do this.”
Founded in 1995, DRIVE SMART Virginia has worked for more than a decade to educate businesses, municipalities, state agencies and students about distracted driving.