Buena Regional Students Learn about Dangers of Distracted Driving

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Cell phone use plus a distracted driver equals a dangerous situation.

 And once you add alcohol into that equation, you're looking at a life-threatening scenario. 

"I think it’s impactful," said Stephanie Winkler, a health and physical education teacher at Buena Regional High School.  

"They are sitting down, they’re driving, there’s something that’s a distraction while they’re driving, and I think that they’re really seeing what could actually happen when they get behind the wheel." 

The students were asked to try the drunk driving and texting driving simulation to understand the serious effects that driving under the influence or while distracted can have.

"The simulator itself was very difficult," said Howard Nash, a senior at the high school. "Just being under the influence and me attempting to text while under the influence, I really don’t recommend it. Everybody thinks it’s a joke until you realize other people’s lives are at stake." 

After an hour-long presentation by "Save a Life Tour," the students got behind the wheel to maneuver a vehicle with these scenarios: The car was driven down a road with changing traffic signals, varying speed limits, and other drivers. Similar to what we see everyday. 

With built-in impairments, including a loud phone and delayed response time, driving successfully is harder than it looks.

"It was very hard, especially because I’ve never driven before," said Madison Hoover, a freshman at the school. "But the reaction time … like, I would turn the wheel, and then three or four seconds later it would actually turn." 

"It was … kind of stressful, because we had a lot of distractions," said Jamera Jeralds, a sophomore.

Staff with the high school are trying to raise money for their own driving simulator. 

The students pledged to be a safe driver through an all-state sponsored program and voted to help their high school to be the recipient of a $25,000 grant, which will bring this safe driving awareness program in permanently.

"There [are] a lot of studies out there that say practicing on a driving simulator makes you a better driver on the road," said Walker.

Now, the students are getting an up close lesson to understand the dangers that can exist on the roadways. 

Watch: Deer Warning for Drivers in NJ

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