Texting-while-driving simulator shows Durant students potential danger

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Durant High School is trying to make the city's streets safer by demonstrating the dangers of texting while driving in a controlled simulation.

The simulator is part of AT&T's "it can wait" campaign. They're on tour across the country and stopped off in Durant Thursday.

Delinda Knox with Durant ISD "Safe Schools Healthy Students" program said they want students to learn from a young age the dangers of texting while driving.

"We've been focusing a lot on sophomores - some of them are beginning drivers," she said. "Some of them haven't driven yet."

She said it's important for them to start with good habits.

And Durant Police Captain Mike Woodruff said those habits can save lives.

"When we're investigating our motor vehicle crashes, we're discovering more and more that texting and driving is such a distraction in cars," he said. "It's a large factor and issue we find when investigating our crashes."

Durant Sophomore Hudson Long crashed while trying the simulator - a move common among the students.

"You looked down and as soon as you looked up, you'd be in the other lane," he said. "It was insane."

Long has his learners permit, but is about to get his license. He said the simulator was an eye-opening experience.

"It definitely made me aware of what it was like to text and drive, and it definitely wasn't easy," he said.

He vows to never text and drive. And for Knox and school administrators, that's a victory.

"Maybe it'll make them think before they pick up that phone," Knox said. "Maybe they'll think, 'yeah it can wait.'"

Students also signed a banner pledging to never text while driving. The school plans to hang-up the banner as a reminder.

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