Distracted driving is deadly, four times more deadly than drunk driving to be exact, said John Smoot of the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety while talking to Barren County High School students.
Smoot explained that texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving are more dangerous than drunk driving because distracted drivers take their eyes completely off the road for three to four seconds. It was a message Smoot and his co-worker James Gray hoped would hit home for the teens, most of whom were sophomores who will start driving soon.
“It takes 37 percent of your cognitive ability while talking or texting,” Smoot said.
Taylor Dillingham, a BCHS sophomore, was the first to try the driving simulator. Gray asked her to text a specific message, which slowed her reaction time to 8.7 seconds in comparison to the 1.2-second reaction without texting.
Dillingham said seeing it firsthand made her realize the dangers of driving.
“You just have to stop whatever you’re doing and don’t text while driving,” she said.
If the danger of death and injuring someone else wasn’t enough, Smoot told the students that as of April 2010 texting or talking on the phone while driving for people under the age of 18 is illegal. He told the story of a girl who was texting and driving. She ended up in a bad car accident and was in coma for about a week. Police pulled up her phone records and found out she was texting while driving at the time of the accident and she lost her car insurance, causing her family to pay for the damages to the car and all of the medical expenses.
“I know we don’t know you, but we care about you,” Smoot said.
Read more of this story in the print or digital Glasgow Daily Times.