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Texting simulator drives home an important lesson

MANLIUS — A simulator taught students an important lesson Saturday: Texting while driving is dangerous at best.

The simulation is part of a program by Peers Awareness, an organization that aims to teach students about the dangers of texting while driving.Approximately 150 teens participated in the texting simulation as Peers Awareness came to Manlius Pebble Hill School for “No Zone Safety Day,” a program for drivers ed students.

“In my simulation I ran a person over,” said Peter Impelizzieri, 17, of Mattydale. “I didn’t even see them.”

The simulation uses a parked car connected to wheel sensors. Students try to text and drive while obstacles appear in their way on a screen attached to the sensors.

“They are all pretty amazed at how hard it is to do,” said Michael Edsenga, a simulator operator for Michigan-based Peers Awareness. “A lot of the students get the point.”

Impelizzieri did. “The texting was harder than I thought it would be,” he said.

“I think it’s a great awareness tool,” said DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway, who also took a turn using the simulator. “Whether you’re a young driver or experienced driver it doesn’t matter because you quickly realize you can’t text and drive.”