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Texting and driving: “It Can Wait” campaign at RCHS

Student Timothy Merkle, a Castle Pines resident, trying out the AT&T driving simulator at Rock Canyon High School on February 2 which is designed to show the dangers of distracted driving.

By Jack Hibbett, RCHS intern writer; photo courtesy of Suzanne Trantow

A virtual reality simulator from AT&T recently came to Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) on February 2.  The distracted driver simulator tackles a very serious dilemma at RCHS and throughout the world – texting and driving.  In some cases, texting while driving can be the difference between life and death for a teen.  According to the National Safety Council, 11 teens die everyday from texting and driving and unfortunately, this number is increasing every year.  Due to the increasing dependency on mobile devices, especially for younger people,  AT&T founded the “It Can Wait” simulator, which allows young drivers to experience the dangers of texting and driving.

This driving simulator helps by allowing people to see through the eyes of a distracted driver after they climb into the “car” and put on goggles.  This simulator shows the driver texting, babies in the back crying and unfortunately ends in your very own virtual car crash.  This experience not only allows the driver to realize the effects of a car crash, but also helps them notice how easily a car crash can happen.  

As RCHS student Jake Williamson stated after the simulator, “I now know that it is very dangerous to text and drive.  You should never look away from the road and get distracted by something else.”  It was RCHS’s goal to promote driving awareness and safety among their students and they believe they achieved just that with this simulator.  AT&T has also felt the success of their campaign inspiring more than 14 million people to pledge to not drive distracted.

Texting and driving is a very dangerous habit that needs to be prevented before it even starts; that’s why AT&T and RCHS have teamed up to stop distracted driving among RCHS students and have allowed them to be immersed in a life-changing event that can make a student think twice before picking up their phone.  As Castle Pines resident and RCHS student Ian Fleming said, “The most important reason to not drive with distractions is because a text is not worth a life, and if you have a kid in your backseat and get in a car wreck, it’s going to dramatically change your life forever.”



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