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WF high schoolers shown risks of texting and driving

West Fargo junior Kayla Wheatley attempts to text while driving safely as her classmates look on. Daniel Determan / West Fargo Pioneer

With the help of AT&T, the West Fargo High School students were given the chance to witness first-hand the dangers of texting and driving with a simulator brought to Veterans’ Arena on Monday during school hours.

“We’re helping sponsor this program... that shows kids how dangerous it really is to text while behind the wheel,” School Resources Officer Skyler Dutton said. “I wanted to bring this to the West Fargo High School just to give our students the opportunity to realize how important it is to not text and drive.”

Students were put behind the wheel of a car, handed a smart phone, and got to view their progress down a city street by watching a monitor in front of the car.

The simulator kept track of how often a driver exceeded the speed limit, crossed the center line and committed other problematic action behind the wheel. Most simulations ended with an accident.

“We’ve had about 200 hundred students come and watch and about 50 of them have actually done the simulator (as of 11 a.m.),” Dutton said. “From what I’ve seen so far, the kids have been having trouble keeping the car on the road.”

Representatives of AT&T also presented students with a number of statistics, including the facts that a car going 65 mph travels the length of a basketball court in a single second, and texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds.

With texting now the most common means of communication amongst teenagers, the facts of its hazards behind the wheel have become more apparent to the student of West Fargo.