Distracted driving simulator returning to a high school near you
2020-02-24 08:00 PST
The North Vancouver RCMP, in partnership with ICBC, are once again putting local high school students to the test with ICBC’s distracted driving simulator.
"The simulator allows us to safely illustrate the dangers of distracted driving," said Harvey Kooner, Road Safety and Community Coordinator for ICBC on the North Shore. "Drivers use a computer program that is very similar to a driving video game. The program simulates the view a driver has through the front windshield, and is attached to a steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal, all controlled by the student driver," said Kooner. The student is challenged to navigate busy city streets and obey road signs and traffic lights, all while responding to text messages that appear on the screen.
We live in a distracting world, and few worlds have more distractions than a teen’s," said Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. "One of our goals here is to pry apart those two worlds. When you're driving, that's the only thing you should be paying attention to."
Creating a visceral, memorable experience is an effective way to teach young drivers about the risks of distracted driving, said DeVries. "We know that a teen's developing brain is still learning to anticipate the consequences of certain behaviours, and that includes the risks associated with driving. This simulator offers us a safe way to allow them to make those mistakes; to get into virtual accidents, to run the risk of hitting a virtual pedestrian, to get virtually pulled over for speeding, in the hope that when they face the real world those memories will prompt them to make good decisions about managing distractions."
"Driving is a dangerous activity that requires a number of different skills," said DeVries, adding that it can be done safely so long as drivers pay attention. "Early intervention is the best way to teach them those skills."
North Vancouver RCMP traffic officers and ICBC personnel will be onsite at Handsworth Secondary School on Friday, February 28, and Windsor Secondary School on March 3, giving new and learning drivers the chance to try the simulator out.
Click here for larger resolution photo.
- More than one-in-four deaths on B.C. roads involves distracted and inattentive driving.
- You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your phone.
ICBC statistics show that over a five-year period (2013 – 2017), BC police reported that distracted and inattentive driving*:
- Is responsible for more than one quarter of all car crash fatalities in B.C.
- Is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C., and on average result in 77 deaths each year.
- Is a factor in more fatal crashes than impaired driving: on average 82 deaths occur in speed-related crashes and 68 in impaired-related crashes.
What’s behind these statistics? A survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of ICBC in December 2018, strongly suggests there is an answer. In the survey, drivers reported 95% recognize distracted driving has led to an increase in crashes, and 96% consider texting while driving to be risky. And yet, 33% of drivers say they use their phone at least one out of every 10 trips they take.
*Statistics provided by ICBC
Sgt. Peter DeVriesMedia Relations Officer
North Vancouver RCMP
nvan.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)
147 East 14th St, North Van., BC, V7L 2N4
- Date modified: