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High-tech simulator battles distracted driving in effort to reduce Massachusetts car accidents

Distracted driving has become a nationwide epidemic and is a leading cause of Boston car accidents.

An estimated 6,000 people a year are killed by drivers attempting to multitask while behind the wheel of an automobile. One local company is pushing a three-year initiative to teach teens about the dangers through high-tech driver’s education News Center 5 reported.

As we reported earlier this week on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer blog, 5,864 young people were involved in fatal car accidents in 2008, including 68 who were killed in Massachusetts. Nationwide, car accidents are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 20.

Authorities are trying to spread the word among teenagers, using a 36-foot bus, outfitted with a high-tech mobile classroom simulator created by Dr. Donald Fisher, head of the college of engineering at UMass-Amherst.

“Who really listens to their parents?” Fisher asked. “You need to experience something before you learn something.”

Fisher noted that drivers who are text messaging are 23 times more likely to be in a crash or near crash than a driver who is focused on the road. The computer-based classroom tests driver awareness using simulated road hazards. The $1.4 million mobile classroom is being sponsored by the charitable foundation of Arbella Insurance.

Newly licensed drivers who complete the simulator test and a short online course are given a $15 gas card. The course, called Distractology 101, is hitting the roads to police stations and high school parking lots across Massachusetts.

If you or a family member needs to speak with a Boston car accident attorney, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.