The Norman Transcript

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November 13, 2013

Driving simulator teaches that texting while driving can wait

NORMAN — Giggling and talking to her friends, Aimee Spears sat down and grabbed the steering wheel. Spears accelerated and made her way through city streets when her phone buzzed at her.

Spear’s “mom” wanted to know what she would like to eat for dinner and when she’d be home. As Spears, a Norman North High School sophomore, looked away from the road to answer her “mother’s” text message, another car plowed into the driver’s side of Spears’ vehicle.

No longer joking with her friends, Spears stood up from the driver’s seat and walked away. The virtual reality driving simulation was over.

More than 100,000 times a year, people are injured or die because of texting while driving. If Spears had been driving a real vehicle and not the AT&T virtual reality driving simulator, she could have been seriously injured or died because of her actions, which is what the AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign team members said they hoped students would learn from their visit.

On Tuesday, the AT&T “It Can Wait” program visited Norman North High School to highlight the dangers of distracted driving and allow students to experience the dangers of texting while driving first-hand with a virtual reality driving simulator.

The program also visited Noble High School on Wednesday.

The program presented a short video that featured individuals who were severely injured in a car accidents caused by texting and driving as well as individuals who knew someone killed due to texting while driving.

Norman North freshmen Jordyn Kauakahi and Macee Greer said the video was really sad and impacted them.

“I’m definitely too terrified to (text and drive) now,” Kauakhai said.

After the video, students had the opportunity to try the driving simulator and make a pledge not to text and drive.

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