A police department in El Paso, Texas has used a combination of virtual reality and driving simulators to inform high school students on the dangers of car accidents.
The El Paso Police Department paired up with State Farm on the initiative, which is a large group of insurance and financial services companies. Together, the group is spearheading the Teens in the Driver Seat and Texas A&M Passenger Safety projects, two programs designed to teach teens how to drive safely.
Bobby Petrocelli from the initiative visited Chapin High School, Irvin High School, and Franklin High School as part of the El Paso independent school district.
As part of the presentation, Petrocelli also shared his own experience of a horrific car crash and how teens can avoid the same mistake.
Virtual reality has also be used by the A&M program to educate teens on other aspects of safe driving. In 2018, the group made a presentation to teens on what happens to distracted drivers; specifically for texters and for those who don’t wear seatbelts.
Distracted driving is a real risk for teenagers and results in thousands of serious to life-threatening injuries each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 46 percent of urban teens and 52 percent of rural teens talk on cellphones while driving. Another study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that distracted teen drivers were a factor in 6 out of 10 moderate to severe car crashes.