Teaching beginning drivers how to avoid the dangers of distracted driving-The Distractology 101 Tour

What is distractology? It is the science of distractions, particularly as distractions apply to driving. A 36 foot long neon-yellow mobile classroom has begun teaching new student drivers just how dangerous distracted driving can be. Not with word, or speeches or pamphlets, but with a high tech driver simulator that lets students see first hand what happens when a driver takes their eyes off the road to text, answer a cell phone call or try to read a text or e-mail. According to Dr. Donald Fischer , a national expert on distracted driving.

“During their first month on the road, novice drivers are six times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers with a year’s driving experience. In our lab, we have developed a program…which mimics real-life driving. Evaluations of this program suggest that it makes novice drivers substantially more likely to engage in behaviors that will help them avoid crashes. Compared with untrained novice drivers who fail to anticipate hazards 40 percent of the time, program participants fail only 10 percent of the time. That’s powerful evidence for the benefits of education.”

Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem in the US: resulting in an estimated 1.6 million crashes and 6,000 deaths each year. People who text while driving are 23 percent more likely to be in a crash or barely avoid one. Studies have even shown that driving while distracted is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level of .08.

Students will participate in the driving simulator and then complete an on-line portion of the program to reinforce what was learned in the simulator. Lastly. They will be asked to take a pledge to drive safer. Here is a link to the full story and the online curriculum:

Distractology 101: UMass driving lab shows teens what happens when they text and drive

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