Press Releases

Texting-While-Driving Simulator Has Teens Saying “OMG”


09 October 2015                                              Contact: Kristin Smolenski, 276.206.6963

RICHMOND, VA – Recently, a teenage boy who was texting crashed into the side of a police cruiser.  There were no injuries and the boy, although shocked by the experience, walked away without as much as a traffic ticket.  In fact, he was given a gift certificate for a free serving of frozen yogurt from Sweet Frog.

The “crash” occurred at a Virginia high school while the teenager was behind the wheel of DRIVE SMART Virginia’s in-vehicle texting-while-driving simulator.  The high-tech simulator training is made possible by a grant from State Farm.

“Simulators give teens the opportunity to practice their driving skills in a controlled and safe setting,” said Anna Bryant, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist.  “Giving teens this experience helps them prepare for the various situations they may approach on the road and helps create safer drivers.”

DRIVE SMART Virginia will bring the texting-while-driving simulator to two Southwest Virginia high schools next week.  In addition to the simulator, students will learn about impaired driving as they attempt to navigate traffic cones while riding adult-size tricycles and wearing goggles that affect visual balance cues.

“Car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers and most of those crashes are caused by driver error.  We try to find innovative ways to affect driver behavior,” said Janet Brooking, Executive Director of DRIVE SMART Virginia.  “DRIVE SMART Virginia has conducted teen focus groups and we’ve found that interactive education is the most effective way to reach their age group.”

DRIVE SMART Virginia’s interactive traffic safety program will visit:

  • Virginia High School, 1200 Long Crescent Drive, Bristol, VA 24201​, Monday, October 12th, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Pulaski County High School, 5414 Cougar Trail, Dublin, VA 24084​, Tuesday, October 13th, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For the past nine years, DRIVE SMART Virginia has worked to educate businesses, municipalities, state agencies and students about distracted driving.

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About DRIVE SMART Virginia

DRIVE SMART Virginia is a nonprofit organization charged with raising awareness and changing driver behavior in order to improve the safety of the roadways of the Commonwealth.  We have endeavored to improve the lives of all Virginians through our public information and education initiatives.  Founded in 1995, the organization is led by a diverse board representing safety advocates, the insurance industry and law enforcement.  Our mission is advanced by fostering community partnerships, creating educational campaigns, designing and distributing educational materials, making presentations, attending outreach events, and advocating for traffic safety initiatives.  Learn more about DRIVE SMART Virginia by visiting