Frenship High School students used a texting and driving simulator Tuesday morning as a part of an effort to educate them on the dangers of texting behind the wheel.
The simulator, provided by AT&T allows students to navigate virtual streets while trying to maintain the speed limit, avoid hazards and respond to text messages. A phone is on the right part of the simulator and sends sporadic texts to the driver. AT&T's Regional Director of External Affairs, Cameron Monroe says it's all about education.
"We're just trying to show kids the dangers of texting and driving. Hopefully we can convince a few of them to put their phone down, let texts wait until they are stopped and quit driving. Maybe we'll even save a life in the process," said Monroe.
"The kids have been interested and it's cool to stay up here in front and watch facial expressions change when they watch the video and of course they get a big kick out of watching their friends crash."
As of this morning, over 200 kids made the pledge to never to text and drive and based on the numbers of students viewing the simulator, Monroe estimates Frenship would probably have the more pledges than any schools taking part.
"What we look for is really a change in their face because if we can see that something has impacted them and obviously made a difference it's a good thing," said Monroe.
The simulator even made a trip to Austin where state lawmakers were able to experience the dangers of texting and driving for themselves.
Earlier this year, Tom Craddick (R-Midland) proposed the Alex Brown Memorial Act, which would make it illegal to send any kind of text-related message while driving in the state. A similar bill was passed in 2011 with an amendment stating that reading a text message was allowed but the bill was eventually vetoed by Governor Rick Perry.
Alex Brown's parents told us recently that they viewed the veto as a blessing in disguise because they want something passed that is easily enforceable. Monroe thinks that this bill has enough support to pass and there is more urgency to get something done this time around, but said he is still unsure as to what the governor will decide.
"We certainly support the municipalities and the Texas legislature with what they want to do," said Monroe, but added that AT&T tries to remain neutral on political issues.
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