Students at Central High School get hands-on lesson on dangers of distracted driving

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 6:14 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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WOODSTOCK, Va. (WHSV) - Students at Central High School got a hands-on lesson about the dangers of distracted driving on Tuesday. Drive Smart Virginia provided a driving simulator for students to see the difficulty of driving distracted first-hand.

It also had students try to drive a pedal cart while wearing drunk goggles and navigating cones to simulate the dangers of driving impaired.

“The important thing for us is that with students, particularly the sophomore class who are getting ready to get their driver’s license, we want them to have some real-world experience. So through these demonstrations, they’re able to see what it’s like,” said Ben Bruce, Strategic Partnership Manager for Drive Smart Virginia.

The exercises helped students see firsthand how dangerous distracted and impaired driving is.

“Invariably they end up crashing a lot of times and then we give them what we call a ticket with their various offenses so we can see how much the actual cost is for getting involved in a crash or driving too fast, things like that,” said Bruce. “It’s nice to be able to give them a paper ticket that says ‘OK here’s the things that you did wrong’ Our school resource officers are typically on-hand and they can validate yes in fact if you were doing these things in a traffic situation you would get pulled and you would get a ticket.”

The program was held in partnership with State Farm and VCU Health and it stressed to students just how important safe driving habits are.

“Traffic crashes are unfortunately the leading cause of death for young adults aged 16-19 so we find that it’s really important to speak to students about distracted driving, particularly texting. With texting you’re not only impaired from a visual standpoint but from a cognitive and mental standpoint,” said Bruce.

In addition to warning students about the many potential distractions while driving it also stressed making sure to always fasten your seatbelt.

“In our rural counties, our seatbelt usage is unfortunately not as high as we would like it to be and with it being in a rural situation it’s often harder for paramedics of EMS or support to get to a crash scene. So we really want folks to know how important it is to buckle up,” said Bruce.