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Texting & driving dangers demo in Edgar

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A man texts on his mobile phone while driving in a simulator during the 2010 International CES in Las Vegas
texting while driving
A man texts on his mobile phone while driving in a simulator during the 2010 International CES in Las Vegas

EDGAR, WI (WSAU) -  Edgar students will find out Friday why texting and driving is a bad idea. A special driving simulator will be set up to show young drivers exactly how dangerous it is.

Jessica Erickson from AT & T Wisconsin says there are two parts of the program designed to drive home the message that texting and driving don’t mix. “We are showing them a documentary called The Last Text that shares stories of real lives ended because of texting while driving, and it’s focusing on young people. The second thing is we have a distracted driving simulator from AAA where students will actually get the chance to experience in a safe setting how texting impairs their driving through virtual reality.”

Erickson says young people are especially at risk because they are prolific texters and inexperienced drivers, and they don’t realize how deadly taking your eyes off the road can be. “The reason texting is so dangerous is because it takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, and when you’re traveling at 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field completely blind.”

AT & T now offers a new smartphone application called “Drive Mode” that automatically tells the people sending you texts that you are driving and will get back to them later. Erickson says they will be telling Edgar students about it Friday. The app works by sensing when your phone is traveling over 25 miles-per-hour.

The Edgar stop will also include two state legislators instrumental in making it illegal to text and drive in Wisconsin. Representative Scott Suder and Senator Jerry Petrowski will speak to students. Petrowski chaired the Assembly Transportation Committee, and co-authored the legislation.

Edgar is one in a series of high school stops put together by Triple-A, the WIsconsin State Patrol, and AT & T.

Similar events have already been to Racine, La Crosse, and Burlington. This demonstration is also coming to Rhinelander, Brookfield, Eau Claire, and Madison later this fall.

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