Mario Kart Teaches Kids Dangers of Texting While Driving

Surely we can all agree that texting while behind the wheel is a very bad idea. But how do you drive such a fact through the thick skull of your average teenager?

Why, with video games of course!

As part of a nationwide contest put on by the National Organization for Youth Safety, Colorado’s Vail Christian High School has introduced the “distracted and drowsy driving project.”  The initiative aims to show kids first-hand how dangerous distracted driving is by having students read and send texts while playing Mario Kart Wii.  And yes, they’re using the Wii Wheel to control their karts.

So, is the program effective?  Said 13-year-old Alli O’Brian:

I ran into a lot of things and it was very stressful.  I don’t think I’ll text [while driving].

Vail Christian High School is one of twenty schools from around the country participating in the contest.  The school with the best safety program will receive a $10,000 award.

Hit up for video coverage of the program.

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen

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  1. 0
    finaleve says:

    Honestly, this is probably the best idea someone has come up with.

    It’s the idea of driving while texting, thats what’s clicking here.  Not the reality of it, but the idea of how hard it would be to actually pull both off at the same time.

  2. 0
    Positive_Gamer says:

    My only problem is in real life driving, the steering wheel is close to the window….you don’t have far to move your eyes, and with mario kart the wheel isn’t right at screen("window") level, plus you don’t have to hold the wheel and the phone because the wheel is mounted to the car where as the mario kart wheel is not attached to anything, meaning you have to hold on to the weight of that and the phone which means it will be closer to your lap and your eyes will have to move farther to be able to see the screen.

    While I hate people who text, talk on the phone, read books(Yes, I’ve been hit by a lady reading a novel), eating, and putting on makeup, this test is a stretch and I think they could come up with something a little better.

  3. 0
    Father Time says:

    I wonder if anybody thought of doing this with any of the gran turismos. I mean steering wheel controllers aren’t new I had one on the PS1 (I always thought it was too sensitive, but then agian I had never driven an actual car before).


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  4. 0
    mbellerbrock says:

    Agreed, while I don’t condone texting while driving, it is far easier to drive a car than steer a Wii wheel with one hand.  It’s still a good effort, but man, has anyone ever tried to do something else, anything else, while playing Mario Cart with the wheel? It’s damn near impossible.

  5. 0
    Alex says:

    I used drunk goggles once in an anti-drinking presentation in middle school. The guy had me get up in front of the class and try to grab a pencil that he held out in front of me while wearing them.

    They must’ve been really crappy though because they didn’t seem so bad that I would totally miss the pencil. I decided to miss on purpose anyway.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  6. 0
    gamadaya says:

    It’s actually a lot easier in real life.


    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  7. 0
    djnforce9 says:

    I found that "Grand Theft Auto IV" seems to also convey the same message quite well. Try pulling out and using the in-game cell phone (e.g. dialing a number, selecting someone from the phonebook, or anything that requires you to look at the phone’s display for an extended period of time) while trying to steer (and drive at a reasonable speed) a vehicle properly. Not that easy. I’d imagine it would only be far more difficult in real life making me question why so many do it. If I HAVE to make a call for whatever reason (emergency, I’m lost, etc) then I will always pull over or use the nearest parking lot. Much safer and easier. Same thing if someone called me and it was imperative that I took the call.


    I remember someone being accused for drunk driving when someone behind them called the police on them but it turned out they were in fact text messaging while driving. The worst scenerio I’ve ever heard is the guy on the phone while eating a hamburger and then trying to drive on top of that (he had to use his knees to steer since both hands were full).

  8. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    I know, and he does it everyday, too. Seriously, though, it’s not how accurate MK is; it’s the idea of DWT. Controlling a wheel and a cell at the same time. And MK is much easier to drive than a real car; if they can’t handle MK, they know they can’t take on the streets.

  9. 0
    King of Fiji says:

    Because as we all know Mario Kart is an accurate simulation on how we all drive in our daily lives.  xD

    I’m just driving down the street to work and then all of a sudden a plumber starts throwing spikey blue shells at me and I’m all "$(%^ I should hang up my cell phone before I get killed."



  10. 0
    Monte says:

    Well not sure about smoking or drugs, but they could just slap a pair of drunk glasses/goggles on the kids… that’s how they teach us how hard it is to walk when you are drunk in my old health class.

  11. 0
    Thomas says:

    Anything that teaches new drivers this lesson is good.

    Now they need to add drinking, drugs, and anything else that makes people unable to pay full attention to the list.

    "We never paid any heed to the ancient prophecies… Like fools we clung to the old hatreds, and fought as we had for generations"

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