Simulator shows texting and driving don't mix

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by ROBERTA ROMERO / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on November 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM

AUBURN, Wash. -- For many drivers, it's simply a habit. The cell phone beeps and a text message arrives. Of course, you respond.

Except, you're driving 60 miles per hour on a busy interstate. Distracted driving is against the law in Washington state  It contributed to 758 deaths between 2004 and 2008.

"Texting and driving can be just as bad as driving while drunk, " said James Pratt, of Arrive Alive Tour.

The national awareness campaign is making an appearance at the Green River Community College. The campaign has a specially fixed up car, where students can actually try driving and texting at the same time for a real experience.

"People are given are real lesson on this simulator to show them what happens when you text and drive," Pratt said.

Student Dashinique Gonzalez got behind the wheel. She admits readily that she sometimes texts and drives.

"I was driving Thursday and posted an update on Facebook," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez sat behind the wheel, and after a brief introduction, she hit the road. The ride only takes about 30 seconds. In that time, while texting and driving, Gonzalez received three citations and hit another car.

"It was really scary, I had no idea how easy it is to lose control," said Gonzalez.

The Arrive Alive Tour also has a pledge sheet, encouraging students to sign a promise to never text and drive again. After her experience, Gonzalez was happy to sign it.

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