Schools in Wallowa, in the far east of Oregon, are targeting distracted driving by going directly to the source: placing students in a car equipped with virtual reality technology to convince them of exactly how real the danger is.
According to the Wallowa County Chieftain roughly 50 of the people put through the simulator on a single day at an area high school wound up being ‘victims’ of Oregon distracted driving or Oregon drunk driving accidents. The paper quotes the “impaired driving awareness instructor” who ran the event saying that in the real world “eighty percent of accidents are due to driver distraction” (a statistic which obviously goes far beyond cellphones to encompass ‘legal’ distractions – such as the radio or CD player or dealing with kids in the back seat).
The project, the paper reports, is organized by “UNITE, a Michigan-based organization that sends three teams around the nation for similar demonstrations at high schools and colleges.” The set-up involves placing students in a stationary car while wearing virtual reality goggles. Both the car and the goggles are connected to a computer. To simulate phone-related distractions and texting students use their own cellphones. Drunk driving is simulated by having the computer acknowledge a students’ actions in the car with the appropriate delay for varying levels of intoxication.
As I have written on previous occasions, a core issue when it comes to distracted driving is the widespread belief that ‘I’m very careful – the problem is with all those other people who aren’t.’ Systems like the one UNITE is taking to schools here in Oregon are an especially useful way to demonstrate to individuals that their ability to multi-task is not necessarily as uniquely high as they believe.
In the wake of distracted driving accidents an Oregon distracted driving attorney can be an essential ally of victims and their families as they struggle to put their lives back together. Drunk driving has been a problem for decades. Distracted driving, at least as it relates to cellphones, is relatively new. In both cases, however, education and justice go hand-in-hand: demanding personal responsibility before accidents happen, and enforcing it once they do.
Wallowa.com: How to text yourself to death