Funded by the UMass Memorial Medical Center and the Allstate Foundation, a new simulator, meant to demonstrate the perils of texting while driving, is making the rounds of Massachusetts high schools.
Teen D.R.I.V.E (Distracted Reality an Interactive Virtual Education) is a pretty snazzy looking simulator, which ends with a “patient’s-eye view” from a stretcher after a crash and an appearance before a judge to receive penalties, which go into effect in Massachusetts today.
If you’re allergic to clichés, please skim past the following quote from Allstate Foundation spokesman Chris Connor, who stated, “This is an opportunity to realistically engage teens in a manner they understand – video games, a simulation."
Except at the end of a video game, there is no consequence. In real life, there is no game over. There is no inserting a quarter to continue. This is real life, and in real life there is no opportunity to press the reset button.
Violators of the law face an initial fine of $100 and repeated offenses will result in increased fines. Sixteen and seventeen year old drivers who text while driving can lose their license for 60 days.
Recent research from the U.S. Highway Loss Data Institute indicates, however, that bans on texting while driving may actually increase accidents. As the Register explains, “In other words, drivers who allow themselves to be distracted are going to become distracted anyway, anti-texting and anti–mobile phone laws or no anti-texting and anti–mobile phone laws.”
The Reg added that such laws are “currently popular ways for US politicians to prove to their constituents that they’re Doing Something.”