Virtual reality shows Provo kids grim realities of distracted driving

"It Can Wait" campaign makes stops in Utah County schools

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Tears welled up in Independence High School students' eyes as they watched a PSA in which a woman recounted how a distracted driver killed her parents. 

The video, part of AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign, served as a stark wake up call for many students, who admitted to using their smartphone while driving...daily. 

"Even for, like, switching songs, I don't want to use [my phone] whatsoever," said Tara Sturdivant, an 11th grader at Independence. 

"It's really scary to think that I could end up doing that if I don't watch where I'm going," said Leslei Valverde, who put on virtual reality goggles which simulated the experience of driving distracted. 

The "It Can Wait" simulator put students in the "driver seat," where inside the goggles they could see an animated view of their phone in the cup holder, constantly going off.  The simulated phone distracted them so much, they couldn't see the other simulated pedestrians and drivers. 

The simulation ends with a loud crash, glass flying everywhere. In the next shot, students could see an aerial view of the "fatal" crash. 

"It's really scary," one student said while taking off the goggles. 

AT&T recently conducted a study in which seven out of ten drivers admitted to using their smartphone while driving. Four out of ten drivers admitted to using social media apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat while on the road. 

Utah Dept. of Public Safety statistics show 28 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2015

The "It Can Wait" campaign brought the simulator to other schools in Provo and Orem Monday and Tuesday. 


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