L45 — November 2011 — Distracted Driving
Intro: Distracted driving — it claims roughly 55-hundred lives a year and about a half-(m) million injuries. To make the point with the most vulnerable drivers, Mayo Clinic is rolling out a virtual reality check for teenagers. Here's Dennis Douda.
Texting at the wheel of a car. Seventeen-year-old Graham Sparks admits he's guilty, and it's almost cost him, more than once.
I've already had close calls. I'll look down, and I look up, and I'm veering close to the car on the highway, and I'm like whoa!
An estimated 450-thousand people are injured in distracted driving-related crashes each year. Nearly one out of five involves a cellphone. The age group with the highest proportion of distracted drivers is Graham's — teenagers.
Police siren. Uh-oh. That cop came out of nowhere. So you went through that stop sign.
Right, I didn't even see that.
It's as close to real life as you can get without putting someone in harm's way.
Graham is trying out a new driving simulator at Mayo Clinic. Called One Simple Decision by Virtual Driver Interactive, its controls are portable and can be set up anywhere. Thanks to the interactive software … it's meant to be a wake-up call about the possible consequences of texting while driving.
In this one a soccer ball came across the street in a residential neighborhood, and that could easily just happen.
I mean on average, someone who looks down or looks away from their phone while driving looks away for four to five seconds, and in that amount of time at 55 mph, they've traveled the length of a football field.
Todd Emanuel is the injury prevention coordinator for Mayo Clinic's emergency services.
Use of a cellphone, even hands-free, can be similar to being at a blood alcohol concentration of point-oh-eight, it distracts someone that much.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into a crash serious enough to cause injury.
It was realistic too, because I felt the urge to look over there every time I hear that sound, and it's the same when I feel the vibration in my pocket. I always want to grab it.
Hopefully not, after this training session.
For Mayo Clinic, I'm Dennis Douda.
The simulator has been a hit everywhere Mayo has taken it, including high school homecoming events. By the way, the latest tally from the U-S Department of Transportation shows 34 states ban drivers from text messaging. Nine states prohibit any hand-held cellphone use at the wheel.
Read more information on distracted driving. And visit our website at …
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