AT&T simulator demonstrates dangers of texting and driving - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

AT&T simulator demonstrates dangers of texting and driving

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

AT&T has installed a state-of-the-art simulator in its downtown store that measures what happens when you text behind the wheel.

FOX 32's Dane Placko went for a virtual drive inside the AT&T store at Michigan and Ontario with Aaron Buikema. The 22-year-old MIT student agreed to help us test the new "connected car" simulator; part of the company's "It Can Wait" program aimed at teaching young drivers the danger of texting and driving.

Keith Calvert of AT&T says the simulator measures what happens when you're not paying attention.

"As you're driving the simulator, if you're distracted by calls or texts, you lose points in the simulator," Calvert explains.

Aaron was handling the simulated drive through Chicago pretty well, until a text was sent. As Aaron pulls his phone out of his pocket and responds to the text, he ends up driving on the wrong side of the road!

His final score: 522 points out of a possible 1000.

"When they actually get in the simulator, I think it really hits home," Calvert says of the program. "Because they probably don't realize they speed up while doing it. They probably don't realize they drifted off track a little bit."

Merry Dye is also involved in the educational program. Her daughter, Mariah West, was killed one day before she was to graduate high school. She lost control of her car on a Missouri highway while responding to a text.

Her story is highlighted in a documentary on the dangers of texting and driving.

"Losing a child, it's every parent's worst nightmare," Dye says. "Our daughter wanted to be a teacher, an educator, make a difference in people's lives. This is kind of a way to carry on that legacy, maybe at least get some benefit out of a tragic loss that was senseless."

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