News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News


September 26, 2012

Simulator drives home dangers of texting on the road

TERRE HAUTE — Alex Farmer has taken a pledge not to text while driving.

The Terre Haute North Vigo High School senior was among several students Tuesday who used a driving simulator to learn about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

“I tried reading a message on my phone once, and I ran up onto a curb,” he admitted, “so I decided not to ever do it again, because the next time it might not be a sidewalk.”

Farmer said he has seen other drivers texting while in motion, and it is easy to spot the hazard.

“They weave all over the place and cut you off,” he said.

The Vigo County School Corp. hosted the AT&T awareness campaign by bringing in state officials to talk to teen drivers about Indiana’s law banning texting while driving.

The law bans texting for drivers of all ages while the vehicle is in motion. Fines began July 1, 2011, for anyone caught texting while driving, and for those younger than 18 who use a cell phone while driving. Violators can be fined up to $500.

The driving simulator was set up on the stage in the school auditorium, and as students crowded around the flatscreen to “drive” and text, they often made comments as the “driver” travelled erratically — and one time — hit a dog that ran into the street.

The simulator experience allows a student to use an electronic steering wheel and pedals, similar to a video game, to navigate a virtual road course shown on a computer monitor. As they steer, they are asked to send and receive text messages in real time on a mobile device. The program tracks the driver’s performance on the road course while highlighting traffic violations, crashes and even fatalities.

Tuesday’s event was a partnership among the school district, Attorney General Greg Zoeller, State Rep. Clyde Kersey (a retired high school teacher), the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and AT&T. It was the fifth in a series of six events around the state to educate teen drivers that texting and driving “It Can Wait.”

Zoeller continues to support the ban on texting while driving that was passed by the legislature.

“Typing messages is a needless distraction while trying to steer two tons of metal on wheels, and a threat to everyone else on the road,” Zoeller said in announcing the awareness campaign. “By texting while driving, you endanger yourself and others, so this initiative is not about individual rights but instead the state’s duty to protect the public on our highways. Now that school is back in session, young drivers must recognize there are far worse consequences to texting and driving than being pulled over and getting a ticket — potentially fatal consequences.”

AT&T Indiana President George S. Fleetwood said the national campaign to take the no-texting pledge has been well-received, and he believes Americans realize that texting while driving is an important issue.

“It’s a distraction. There’s no question about it,” Fleetwood said.

Studies show that sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent, at 55 mph, of driving the length of a football field, blind.

For Indiana drivers younger than 18, no use of personal communication devices such as cell phones and pagers is allowed while the vehicle is in motion.

Texting ranks as the No. 1 mode of communication among teens, and those between ages 12 and 17 text an average of 60 times per day, according to a national online survey conducted by AT&T in April.

According to the National Safety Council, more than 100,000 crashes per year are linked to drivers reading or sending text messages.

AT&T has launched a campaign to get Americans to pledge not to text while driving, and other wireless providers also have public awareness efforts on the issue. Some smartphone applications are available to disable a cell phone when a vehicle is moving more than 10 mph, and some newer phones come with pre-loaded no-text-and-drive technology already installed.

AT&T encourages all Hoosier drivers to join the no-texting-and-driving movement by taking an online pledge at

The public awareness campaign focuses on the message: No text is worth dying for.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee U.N. School in Gaza Hit by Israeli Strike Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire
NDN Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010

Real Estate News