Dangerous Driving Simulator Shows Hazards of Distraction, Impairment

The Broward County Office of Medical Examiner and Trauma Services recently used a $13,000 grant on a video game.
girlwithsmartphone.jpg
Well, not exactly.

The Dangerous Driving Simulator is an advanced technological tool that serves to demonstrate the perils of driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s a way to offer a real-life message of extreme danger through a safe, simulated experience. Because the problem, say many safety advocates, is that many people believe they are somehow immune to the danger.

That is, they may say that texting and driving is dangerous and they are concerned that other drivers do it. Yet many admit to doing it themselves. Similar findings have been found by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety with respect to drunk driving. This “Do as I say, not as I do” mantra is born of the idea that, “It can’t happen to me.” People think they are somehow better at these dangerous activities than others. The simulator shows them the glaring truth: They aren’t.

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the device is portable. It’s equipped with floor pedals, a stick shift, a steering wheel, new cell phones and a type of operating system that allows it to be connected to the screen of a computer or television, similar to a video game.

The county school district’s curriculum supervisor recently tested the software and described it as very realistic. He noted that teens especially are tech-savvy, and driving the point across to them requires a system that will be as realistic as possible.

A spokesman for the regional EMS council noted that many drivers are aware that texting or drinking and driving is dangerous, but the concepts are somewhat abstract. The use of this simulator in schools, DUI education programs and driving courses can help to show the reality of how these activities affect drivers – before it’s too late.

Targeted audience is teens and young adults, though the hope is everyone who tries the simulator will walk away with a powerful message about what it’s like to drive while distracted or drunk, and the potential consequences of those decisions.

Every single day in the U.S., nine people are killed and another 1,150 are injured in crashes involving a driver who was distracted. In Florida, according to the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, distracted driving crashes have spiked 25 percent just since 2012.

Just recently, two distracted drivers caused a pile-up in Lakeland recently. Authorities say an 87-year-old driver who wasn’t paying attention rear-ended another vehicle. While police were on-scene investigating that crash when they witnessed another crash involving a 29-year-old driver with a cell phone rear-end another vehicle, resulting in injuries.

Although a law was passed by the Florida legislature in 2013 prohibiting texting while driving, the law is not consistently enforced and the fines aren’t significant.

It’s expected the tool will be utilized mostly at school-related events, community outreach efforts and during employee training sessions.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:
New simulator will show Broward drivers dangers of distracted, impaired driving, Oct. 27, 2015, By Wayne K. Roustan, Sun-Sentinel

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Nissan Motor Co. v. Maddox – Seat Belt Fails to Protect Larger Passenger, Oct. 11, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog