Since 2011, the Ohio Department of Transportation has been using Distracted Driver Simulators at high schools, fairs and other public events to demonstrate the dangers of cell phone use while driving.
In 2013, Ohio law enforcement agencies reported 62 deaths, 762 serious injuries and 17,594 crashes that were attributed to distracted driving. Many more crashes go unreported each year because it can be difficult to prove distraction in a crash.
The Distracted Driver Simulator features a computer-generated simulation of texting while driving. The set-up includes a steering wheel, turn indicators, gas and brake pedals. After “buckling up,” the driver takes the wheel and tries to drive with distractions.
The participant receives a phone call, sends a text message and listens to passenger conversations while driving. It doesn’t take long before the driver makes an error and is involved in a crash that results in simulated interactions with police, medical staff and a judge.
Today, ODOT has seven simulators available for free use at large public events such as high schools and fairs. Their use is restricted to day-long events with a large number of people and a high probability of reaching young drivers. We do not schedule the simulator for company training events.
Three of the simulators are new models donated by the Maria Tiberi Foundation. In September of 2013, long-time 10TV sports anchor, Dom Tiberi, lost his daughter in a distracted driving crash. Since Maria’s death, Dom and his family have been on a mission, trying to make drivers, especially young drivers, aware of the dangers of distracted driving.
If you would like to reserve the simulator for an event, please contact the coordinator located in your region of the state (see link below) to discuss your event ideas.