East Hampton High School students learn about dangers of texting and driving

EAST HAMPTON, Conn. (WTNH) – The lesson for students at East Hampton High School on Thursday was not to text and drive. They got some hands on experience on the damage that can be done in just a matter of seconds.

James Harris, a senior, got behind the wheel of a simulated car. He tried to drive while keeping up with text messages. Several of his classmates did the same – and many of them crashed.

“When you’re doing the simulator it just makes it so obvious how hard it really and truly is,” said Harris.

That’s not all students did at the event. AT&T Connecticut and the Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office wanted to make sure students learned what the consequences of texting and driving could be. They watched a video before trying out the simulators, hearing from people who were devastated by accidents caused by drivers who texted behind the wheel.

“It hurts even the person that’s texting and driving,” said Hannah Daddario, a senior. “If they hurt someone else they have to live with it too so it’s just hard to see.”

This is the one hundredth event like this that the DOT has held. They’re hoping it’ll make an impression on all students – whether they have their driver’s license or not.

“Our goal today is to have the kids take away the message of not driving distracted, but to then also go home and tell their friends and their family not to do it as well,” said Michael Whaley, DOT Highway Safety Office Program Manager.

Students have already been told not to text and drive, however, many of them do it anyway. But they say after watching the video and then trying to drive the simulator while texting, the message not to do it has been driven home.

“It’s something that I’m going to live by – not to text and drive,” said Harris. “I’ve done it in the past and it’s not a good thing. My mom always tells me not to.”

After the event students signed a pledge not to text and drive. They then got bracelets saying they took that pledge.

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