Distracted Driving Course - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Distracted Driving Course

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BILLINGS -

Even though we're not supposed to text and drive, some people think they can. Some Huntley project students were put to the test to try a distracted driving obstacle course at St. Vincent Healthcare.

"I ran into seven cones," said Sadie Turner, a senior at Huntley Project High School. "My first thought was like oh that could have been a deer or a cat or something that I just killed."

St. Vincent Healthcare created the distracted driving course to show drivers, especially teens, the dangers of texting and driving.

"It just takes a split second to miss a stop sign or miss a turn and not be aware of what's going on in front of you that you cause a serious crash and harm to yourself and others around you," said Dr. Barry McKenzie, a trauma surgeon at St. Vincent Healthcare.

Statistics show a quarter of teens respond to one or more text messages every time they drive. Researchers say people who text while driving are 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash, especially if they're between 15- and 19-years-old.

"We're kind of at the age where we think we're invincible and this kind of reminds you that you aren't," Turner said.

Participants were timed driving through the course with no distractions. Then they drove through, while texting a specific message. They also put on goggles to simulate drunk driving.

"I think it's important for kids our age to learn this lesson because a lot of us think that we're really good at texting and driving, but honestly not a lot of us can, as you can tell, text and drive very well," said Justice House, a Huntley Project senior.

Organizers asked participants to sign the drive safe pledge to refrain from texting and driving. St. Vincent Healthcare hopes to conduct the course at community events.