Don't text and drive message sent to WL students

Sep 18, 2012

Students at West Lafayette Junior-Senior High School have a better understanding of how dangerous it is to text while driving.

More than 50 students were directly asked by the president of AT&T Indiana to sign a no-texting-while-driving pledge. They heard about the danger it poses to them and others on the road.

Junior Toby LeBlanc tried out the driving simulator to experience what it's like being a distracted driver. He was behind the wheel, while listening to a virtual passenger tell him to make a call on a cell phone and then text someone.

"It was hard. It was really distracting to have that phone in my face. I have never texted and driven before. It was nerve-racking."

West Lafayette High School Junior Toby LeBlanc tries the simulator that shows what it's like to text and drive.
Credit Mike Loizzo / WBAA Radio

State Representative Sheila Klinker says all students should have to experience the simulator before they get on the road.

"Seeing how difficult it is to try to keep your eyes on the road, concentrate. I think that is probably good practice for our young people who are just starting to drive."

LeBlanc did better than most, even though he says he never texts and drives. He understands the risks involved and will pass on what he learned.

"Don't text and drive. It will cause accidents and get people hurt or killed. It's just not worth it."

State Representative Randy Truitt also tried the simulator. He says it makes the point that there already are enough things to distract drivers.

"Mix technology in and I think the recipe is, as the simulator shows, not good. And there are plenty of distractions. It could be your friend next to you, too. So, I think it's just the awareness of everyone around that it's hard enough to drive the way that it is."

Along with AT&T Indiana, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is talking with teens.

Ryan Klitzsch is the director of the Institute's Traffic Safety Division. He says it takes too much concentration to send a text message.

"You're visually looking away from the road. You're manually typing away on a message. And you're cognitively thinking about something else, rather than the important task of driving. We really want to focus on young drivers, and all drivers, that texting is dangerous."

Wednesday is Pledge Day for promising never to text and drive. You can sign the pledge online HERE.