Simulators warn against distracted driving

Clarion, Pa.- Clarion’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council hosted a risk management program in the Gemmell Multi-Purpose Room last Wednesday, March 30 to educate the student body.

This event focused on raising awareness on the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol as well as a wide variety of distractions. Participants were given control of a modern driving simulator while simultaneously being exposed to various impediments and significant distractions, such as frequent text messaging, loud noises and music and a swath of socially-influenced impairments.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the United States Department of Transportation, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”

Beyond just texting or making phone calls on a cell phone, any activity that diverts a driver’s attention puts that driver, their passengers and everyone else sharing the road at serious risk of having an accident.

As reported by the NHTSA, more than 3,331 people were killed and more than 387,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents connected to distracted driving. That represents roughly 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 17 percent of all accidents that caused injuries.

Additional information from the event reports more than 90 percent of drivers recognized the danger from cell phone-based distractions and found it “unacceptable” that people text or send emails while driving. Nevertheless, 35 percent of these same people admitted to having read or sent a text message or email while driving in the previous month.

Sophomore accounting major and brother of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity Damien Granda participated in the event, and said that he “learned a lot about how seemingly minor distractions can really impact [his] ability to operate a vehicle.”

Interfraternity Council is the governing body of all social fraternities on campus and meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in 146 Gemmell. The Panhellenic Council is the governing body of all social sororities and meets every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in 146 Gemmell.

More information on the dangers of distracted driving may be found at www.distraction.gov.

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