HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Tyler Kerch
April marks the beginning of National Distracted Driving awareness month and the Hawaii Department of Transportation is releasing its newest driving simulator to the public.
It is the only simulator of its kind in Hawaii and uses a high-tech set of goggles, laptop computer, pedal and brake sensors and rotating turntables connected to a car. The new simulator allows drivers to go through 50 various scenarios and experience the severe consequences of distracted driving. The DOT hopes it will be used in schools and fairs around the state and throughout the year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who use hand held devices while driving are four times more likely to get into severe crashes that can injure themselves or others.
As each driver goes through the simulation they are prompted to complete a series of tasks such as texting or reaching into the back seat. Each scenario ending in a car crash or other dangerous event.
Lance Rae, a representative for the Department of Transportation's Distracted Driving campaign says that texting while driving isn't the only hazard. "Everybody knows that using a cellphone is illegal but there's lots of other distractions in the world that distract us from driving, actually eating food, trying to find French fries, lots of people put on make-up in the car, they do things that distract them and looking down just to do a simple thing takes about 4.6 seconds and if you're driving at 55 miles per hour that's like going the length of a football field."
Hawaii state law bans the use of hand-held mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle. The fine or violating this law starts at $257 and goes up with higher fines in school and construction zones.
For more information about the dangers of distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov