Hillcrest high school teaches students, faculty distracted driving by VR

MIDVALE, Utah -- Student drivers at Hillcrest High School got a lesson in the consequences of distracted driving.

“Our goal is to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving,” said AT&T spokesperson for the company’s “It Can Wait” campaign, Christopher Johnson. “These students know that they shouldn't drink and drive but they don't know that distracted driving is actually more dangerous than drinking and driving.”

AT&T created a virtual reality simulator that takes students driving for three minutes through streets and highways as they text and receive texts or emails, or social media posts.

“You're actually watching somebody who is texting and it's showing people that no text, no post, or email is worth their life or someone else's life,” Johnson said.

UDOT spokesperson John Gleason also attended the virtual reality lesson and reminded teens and staff there is nothing fakes about the results of their actions on the road.

“We had a ten day period over the last week or so where 14 people lost their lives,” Gleason said. “To date this year already we've had 39 people who've lost their lives, which is a twenty percent increase in fatalities (total fatalities for all reasons, not just distracted driving) over last year at this same time.”

AT&T reported:

Seven in 10 drivers admit to using their smartphones on the road
40 percent said they use social media
30 percent said they surf the web
One in 10 video chat while driving

AT&T has a pledge they ask everyone, teens and adults to sign on its website, that pledges you will not use your phone and drive.

It also recommends an app called “Drive Mode” that turns your messages and notifications off when it senses you are moving over 15 miles per hour, this includes parental controls.