Despite nearly all teen drivers saying they think it’s dangerous to text and drive, 43 percent continue to do it anyway. So, in an attempt to show teens the possible ramifications of engaging in such a dangerous behavior, AT&T is touring the country with a driving simulator designed to demonstrate the risks of texting and driving.

Here’s a short video explaining how the simulator works:

Just yesterday the simulator made an appearance at Gateway High School in San Francisco, part of a 32-city nationwide tour aimed at reaching teen drivers. Throughout the day over 300 students were given an opportunity to hop in the simulator and try their luck with texting and driving, as you’d expect, the message received by most was that the two activities don’t mix. Even students who thought the activity would be fairly easy were surprised at how much attention glancing at a cell phone takes away from focusing on the road.

Unfortunately, it’s not just teens that need to get the message. Although teen drivers are more likely to text and drive, approximately 9% of drivers in the United States admit to texting or e-mailing “regularly or fairly often” while behind the wheel. Hopefully awareness campaigns like AT&T’s simulator will help convince people of all ages that they’re not immune to the dangers of taking their eyes of the road.

The problem is that nearly two-thirds of all drivers rate themselves as “excellent” or “very good” drivers when anyone who knows anything about averages should be fully aware that this can’t possibly be the case. As a result, despite being fully aware of the dangers of texting and driving, many people continue to think they’re the exception to the rule. In fact, a survey conducted by Allstate reports “Seven in 10 American drivers say that as a result of being distracted while driving, they have slammed their brakes or swerved to avoid an accident, missed a traffic signal, or actually caused an accident.” Yet the problem persists.

Regardless of the program’s efficacy, it’s at least starting a conversation about the difference between a person’s perception of their own abilities and the reality of what is and isn’t safe. Whether the program can actually impact an individual’s illusory superiority is yet to be seen, but showing people they aren’t as invincible as they think they are is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.