COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Teen drivers got a firsthand look at the dangers of texting and driving.
As part of Collier County’s drivers ed class, they’re using a simulator to see how it affects their reactions behind the wheel.
“It was actually harder than I thought it would be,” said 15-year-old Tyler Calloway.
Calloway sat in the hot seat for our camera as he tried out the driving simulator.
“At first I thought it was going to be easy, ’cause it seemed like a little game or something and then you had to text while you were driving, put on your signal lights and stop and focus on the road,” said Calloway.
If Calloway had actually been driving a car and texting, the simulator shows he almost hit a guardrail.
The teen got his permit four months ago.
“My parents won’t allow me to go on my phone.”
Now he understands why.
“It makes you realize that it’s actually pretty dangerous and you don’t really realize it till something actually happens,” said Calloway.
Calloway is one of nearly 130 teens in Collier County who are taking the nine-day summer program.
“It does not take a lot of characters in a text to have a distracted driving situation, most often it’s three or four characters,” said Tracy Bowen.
New statistics from AT&T show 61 percent of people text while driving.
“When we look over and we’re driving and we see someone texting and driving, it’s a reminder what we shouldn’t be doing so I think it’s something all of us can contribute to make a better model for our students and our county,” said Bowen.
The program is offered to Collier County teens every summer. It’s available to any student who does not have the opportunity to take it during the regular school year.