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ATT Texting and Driving Simulator comes to Newtown Campus

Photo of student using a driving simulatorBCTC student Tyler Young sat behind the wheel of the car trying to drive through town, follow the rules of the road, and answers the texts that kept coming in. Young crashed the car he was driving when he crashed into a car that pulled in front of him unexpectedly.

But thankfully that experience was just part of a simulation, brought to BCTC's Newtown Campus by ATamp;Ts nationwide It Can Wait campaign.

The texting and driving simulation operates much like any other simulated driving game, with a drivers seat, steering wheel, and gas and break pedals. Drivers need to follow the rules of the road, such as staying in their lane and following the speed limits, all while trying to read and reply to incoming texts.

The simulator facilitators are nearby, bombarding the students with what they need to do, asking them what their texts say, and simulating the chatter drivers get from other passengers in the car.

The It Can Wait campaign has been touring the United States for the last 10 months, and is wrapping up in the next few weeks. The simulators stop at BCTC was one of just two in Kentucky.

Our goal is to save lives, said C.J. Johnson, the ATamp;T It Can Wait tour representative. Our hope is that through awareness people will have an epiphany. Is your whole life worth a 5-second text?

The campaign would like to make texting and driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving, and asks participants to use a #X to pause conversations between getting in the car to drive and arriving at their destination.

BCTC student Jalil Beard says he doesn't text and drive, but knows friends who do and will spread the message after trying the simulator.

People need to try the simulation before doing it in real life. It makes you more aware, Beard said.

BCTC student Latasha Garrison says she never texts while driving and lets others on the road know that they shouldn't be either.

I see people sitting stopped at a green light, and when I drive past I can see that they are texting, said Garrison, who honks or shouts at offenders to stop texting and driving.

Young admittedly texts and drives regularly, but took away a lesson from his attempts at texting and driving in the simulator.

Im not as good at it as I thought I was, said Young, and took a pledge to not text as much.

The campaign realizes that they might not stop people from texting completely, but by raising awareness of the potential dangers, they hope to make people aware of the dangers and potential consequences.

The simulator is an educational tool. They get to walk away from this accident, Johnson said.