“I did not just run that stop sign!” exclaims Indian Lake High School senior Nicole Pinyerd as she struggles to control her simulated vehicle. Pinyerd is part of the first group of students at ILHS to operate the distracted driving simulator temporarily housed in the media center.
Pinyerd has had her license for a few years now and considers herself an experienced driver.
“I never text and drive. I actually watch for people who are doing that and this is why. It’s hard!” she says.
This is the first opportunity Indian Lake students have had to try the simulator since the Bellefontaine Rotary Club and several local businesses raised enough money to purchase the unit through the Maria Tiberi Foundation in Columbus last spring. The foundation donated a second unit, so now the Bellefontaine Police Department, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement agencies work to bring the educational tools to students in local schools.
The steering wheel and video combination offers practice driving in normal situations, plus distracted and impaired driving, with emphasis on the dangers of texting while driving. The simulator even allows students to sync up their own phone and text while driving the simulator.
Senior Easton Crapnell is in the final stages of earning his license. After using the simulator he admits, “It’s a learning experience. It’s (texting) a big distraction.”
Students Against Destructive Decisions advisor Deb Metzger says this is an important safety reminder just ahead of prom and graduation season. Metzger remarks, “I think it offers students the opportunity to see just how quickly things can happen when you’re behind the wheel.”
Students at Indian Lake High School will have the chance to operate the simulator during lunch, study hall and class time over the next few weeks. In addition, AAA will hold a safe driving assembly at ILHS on May 2nd, accompanied by vehicle checks.
Submitted by the Indian Lake school district.