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If students at Nashoba Valley Technical High School didn’t
already know the dangers of texting while driving, they received an
up-close and personal look recently.
Seniors and juniors got a chance to use a machine that simulates
texting while driving, and it gave them an all-too-real experience
while sitting in the safety of the school gymnasium.
Through a grant the school received, Westford Police Detective Joseph
Eracleo brought in Michigan-based Kramer Entertainment’s Save a Life
Tour, which set up two driving simulation machines in the gym.
Students sat behind the wheel for two minutes, with a screen in front
of them depicting several different driving scenarios. With one hand
on the wheel and the other on a cellphone hooked up to the simulator,
they were required to read each “text” they received and respond
immediately upon receiving it, while trying to keep their “car” on the
road and out of danger. Afterward, they were invited to sign a pledge
not to drive while distracted.
“This shows students the importance of not texting and driving, and
that when you pick up the phone while you’re driving, you could not
only devastate your family, but other families as well,” Eracleo said
while students took their turns behind the wheel.
“After going through the simulator, students realize the consequences
of texting while driving and how the slightest distraction can be a
life-or-death situation at a moment’s notice,” he added. “It’s an
eye-opening experience, and if one kid is convinced not to text and
drive after doing this, then it’s worth it.”
And while the simulated crashes and erratic driving brought laughs
among the students, it also brought home to many the dangers of
Meaghan Banister, a senior from Pepperell, was one of the few who
made it through the harrowing two-minute drive unscathed — at least
“That was scary,” she said.
When asked if she would text and drive after using the simulator, she
said, after a short pause, “No.”
Meanwhile, Caleb Vandal, a senior from Ayer, said he didn’t need the
simulator to convince him.
“I definitely don’t text and drive,” he said. “That should be common
sense to everybody — unless you have a death wish.”
Trevor Polleck felt the same way.
“I don’t text while driving. That’s crazy,” he said.
For information about the Save a Life Tour, visit savealifetour.com.