Drive Smart VA Seeks to Save Teen Lives Through Interactive Educational Experience

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Drive Smart's driving simulators offer teens the opportunity to practice their driving skills in a controlled and safe setting.
Drive Smart’s driving simulators offer teens the opportunity to practice their driving skills in a controlled and safe setting.

Last year in Virginia, 76 people died and nearly 10,000 people were injured in crashes involving teen drivers. Teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than any other age group.

DRIVE SMART Virginia is bringing interactive driving education programs to high schools across the Commonwealth. The highlight of this program is an in-vehicle distracted driving simulator funded by State Farm Insurance that is a high-tech tool installed in a full-sized vehicle and allows teens to experience the dangers of distracted driving.

“Driving simulators offer teens the opportunity to practice their driving skills in a controlled and safe setting,” said Michal Brower, State Farm spokesperson for Virginia.  “We are proud to support this program and offer teens the opportunity to prepare for the various situations they may encounter on the road. It’s all about encouraging safe driving.”

DRIVE SMART Virginia will bring this program to North Cross School in Roanoke on October 26th. 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 this.”

Founded in 1995 DRIVE SMART Virginia has worked over a decade to educate businesses, municipalities, state agencies and students about distracted driving.