Students at J.L. Mann High School got a chance to drive a simulator Wednesday that challenged them to text and drive without running off the road.
Allstate "Reality Rides" is on its tour of more than 20 American cities.
The agency describes the program as educational and one that is looking to bring awareness around distraction-free driving in a national campaign. The told 7 On Your Side the following:
The Allstate Reality Rides tour is a representation of the commitment Allstate has shown to the Asheboro/Trinity community to make our roads safer,” said Brad Hughes, a local Allstate exclusive agency owner. “The simulator is an innovative approach to how we are reaching consumers and building public awareness around distraction-free driving.”
Reality Rides consists of a driving simulator that utilizes a real - but stationary - vehicle equipped with virtual reality technology, including a headset that displays an animated environment and reacts to the driver’s motions. Using the vehicle’s steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, the driver is tasked with driving while also attempting to textand talk on the phone.
These simulations demonstrate the potential consequences distracted drivers could face while on the road. To add impact to the simulations, J.L. Mann students are given traffic “tickets” that reveal potential infractions a driver could receive if the experience happened in real life. Participants will also have the opportunity to take the Allstate X the TXT™ pledge that promises to not text and drive.
Allstate is reaching out to families in the area because more than 3,000 deaths from crashes with a distracted driver occur each year:
·Studies have shown drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash, and texting while driving is the equivalent to driving impaired after drinking four beers.
·Car crashes are the number one cause of death for everyone in the U.S. ages 1-34, with teens crashing four times more often than any other age group.
To track the Allstate Reality Rides tour and see photos of J.L. Mann High School participants, visit facebook.com/xthetxt. While there, check out information and resources, engage in the conversation and invite family and friends to take action in support of stronger teen driving laws Allstate
The simulator was harder than driving their own cars and texting, the students told 7 On Your Side. Some said texting and driving was common among their friends.
"A lot of our friends text and drive, a lot, it's a common thing but maybe after this it'll change," said Thomas Baldree a Junior.
Some teens said a ban would only make them more likely to try to hide the phone and continue to text and drive.
Another argument 7 On Your Side heard from drivers was that a texting ban might not be affective in making drivers safer. Many said texting is just as distracting as eating, talking on the phone or anything else someone might do behind the wheel.
Others took the pledge and vowed to stop their current habits.
The City of Greenville is considering banning texting and driving.
"This subject is larger than texting it's a conversation about distracted driving. Whether you text or not everyone can agree we have a problem," said David Sudduth, Mayor Pro Tem.
He continued that because the vote was postponed in the General Assembly, the state was not going to act fast enough for the comfort level of the City of Greenville.
Sudduth also said the city was looking at other texting and driving bans in other cities in South Carolina and outside of the state.
One of those is the ban in Clemson. Sudduth said the city is looking at some harsher penalties than that ban and a rule that would not allow texting when the vehicle is stopped like Clemson's ban does.
The City will have a discussion Monday at 3pm to ask for public opinion.