As part of the statewide “Don’t Text, Just Drive” campaign, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office showed PSU students the dangers of impaired driving with its Seat Simulator. The Seat Simulator has an actual dashboard, steering wheel, and pedals which students use to navigate while watching the “roadway” being displayed on a flat screen monitor.
The instructor is able to change the driving hazards, such as weather and traffic, and also sends students a text while they are driving. When the student violates the rules of the road such as speeding, going left of center, stop sign violations, or crashes, a warning pops up on the simulator.
“You don’t really realize how fast stuff happens. I would be across the center line all of a sudden. I’d look down for a split second and I’d be on the side of the road or there’d be a rock in front of me, or that rock could be another car. It just brings it to light how fast stuff happens when you are texting and driving,” said Pitt State senior Ellie Fritts.
Drivers under 20 years old have the highest amount of distraction-related fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They also text more than any other age group, and the number of young drivers who text is only increasing.