WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Some students will be able to experience the dangers of distracted driving first hand, but in the safety of a simulator.
A seat belt, blinker and some deep breaths helped students like Madelynn Bonfiglio make their way through the Distractology 101 simulator.
“I’ve already been in a couple of car accidents. I side swiped a guy and I hit parked cars all the time,” she said.
Bonfiglio is a University of New Haven freshman who has her driver’s permit and is trying to build up confidence to get her license.
“Only cause I’m really like scared to crash the car like big time,” she said.
This fear is what brought her out to Distractology 101, a 36-foot-long trailer that simulates driving through six different courses. The course tests skills ranging from hidden stop signs to texting.
“…this age group in general. They’re waiting later to get their licenses and texting is all they know from the time they’re younger they get their cell phones. So, they learn to text quite well, said Kim Diblanda, Assistant Director of Health Services at the university.
She says that teenagers and young adults think that they can drive and text without a problem, but the simulation proves otherwise. News 8’s Stephanie Simoni tried to do both and failed.
Bonfiglio says she would never try to do both at the same time and encourages her friends to follow suit.
“When I’m in a car with them, they’ll pick the music and they’re like texting I’ve been in close encounters with like hitting mailboxes, telephone poles. It freaks me out, so I say let me text for you or I’ll pick the song,’ she said.
After today, Distractology and the school hope that others will drive the same point home.
The trailer is sponsored by the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, and the simulations were created by University of Massachusetts Amherst.