Teens get educational look at distracted driving dangers in hopes of avoiding real-life disaster

Teens get educational look at distracted driving dangers in hopes of avoiding real-life disaster

Students sees the dangers of distracted driving on a simulator.

Teens get educational look at distracted driving dangers in hopes of avoiding real-life disaster

Student asks a question of a Quakertown Auxiliary Police Officer about his session on a distracted driving simulator.

The four distracted driving simulators stationed in Quakertown Community High School on January 4, just outside the Quakertown Performing Arts Center, showed students willing to try them how their life can change in a matter of seconds.

The simulators, brought to the high school thanks to the efforts of School Resource Officer Bob Lee, were provided by the Lehigh Valley Health Network. The simulators, consisting of a screen, steering wheel and foot pedals, generated various distractions for the young drivers, including moving cats, dogs and pedestrians.

"Today is about awareness and education," Officer Lee said. "In some cases the student will injure themselves or someone. In some cases they may kill themselves or someone. It shows them how quickly you can damage your life." William McQuilken, a program coordinator with the Lehigh Valley Health Network, echoed that sentiment. "We'd rather show them the consequences of texting and driving on a simulator instead of a real-life situation where they might kill themselves or someone else and end up in prison," he said.

The simulators cost $12,000 each, McQuilken said. He takes them to schools in Northampton, Lehigh, Monroe, Berks, Carbon and Schuylkill counties. Quakertown is the only district in Bucks that has requested the free service, he said. In addition to McQuilken, Quakertown Auxiliary Police were on hand to guide the students on the simulators.

Jason Magditch, assistant principal, said that with all of the technology that's available today, "this opportunity is critical to young people. These simulators show them what can happen in a split second. It opens their eyes to the dangers. We hope it changes their mindset when they do actually get behind the wheel."

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