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Published July 27, 2010, 06:15 PM

Software Simulates Texting While Driving

A computer simulator is offering a different look at texting and driving, and works like a driving game at the arcade.

By: Brady Mallory, WDAZ

A computer simulator is offering a different look at texting and driving, and works like a driving game at the arcade. The driver gets to see an aerial view of what their driving is like if they are distracted.

Bill Vasicek: " We can show people what it's like to drive impaired or distracted," said Altru Safety Coordinator Bill Vasicek.

Vasicek said all it takes is a quick turn in what is more or less a video game.

" Here they get to watch what they're doing in the simulator. Kind of opens their eyes to how bad they were," said Vasicek.

I thought I would give it a try. I put on the simulator goggles, got behind and the wheel and started texting while driving. The sounds of screeching tires soon followed as I tried to stay in my lane.

"If they're texting, people don't realize if their mind is off the road.their eyes are off the road," Vasicek pointed out just before I crashed my computerized car.

On loan from Grand Forks Airforce Base, Altru uses this $24,000 simulator to show teens about the dangers of distracted driving. It hooks up to a regular car. All of my movements were replicated on the computer screen. It showed me a different view than from behind the wheel.

" Whenever people look up to correct themselves, they are looking back at the lane. When we play this, they see they're drifting out of the lane," said Vasicek.

The simulator is starting to make its way to high schools and drivers education classes because more people behind the wheel try to multitask. Vasicek disagrees.

" There is no such thing as multitasking"

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