Middleton High School students learned a lesson in driving distracted Monday.
Students watched real life stories of people who lost a loved one or killed someone while texting and driving. Several also tried driving a simulator that showed what happens when a driver texts and drives.
“I felt like I was in control but to look up and see I’m going into the the wrong lane,” senior Hailey Wrasman said of the simulator.
Wisconsin State Patrol Major Sandra Huxtable said officers hope to reach out to young drivers to explain the dangers of distracted driving.
“We want to get the word out to as many high school students we can, in large part because they’re least experienced when it comes to driving, and they have technology in their hands all the time,” Huxtable said.
Two years after the Wisconsin Legislature passed a ban on texting and driving, there have been more than 500 related convictions. The ticket carries up to a $200 fine with it.
“Something sudden will occur. They’re not able to react to it as quickly because they weren’t paying attention. They were focused on other activity,” Huxtable said of distracted driving accidents.
Last September, Stephanie Kanoff became the first person in Wisconsin to be convicted of killing someone while texting and driving.
The simulator and its message resonated with Wrasman.
“They think they’re good at it and they have control of the car, but they really don’t,” Wrasman said of drivers who text.
There are 800,000 drivers using a cellphone behind the wheel on any given day, according to the Department of Transportation.