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Indiana University Northwest

Office of Marketing and Communications

IU Northwest hosts driving while texting simulation experience Sept. 17

AwareTXT program teaches life-saving lessons


Published: 

Media Contact

Emily Banas
Office of Marketing and Communications
980-6536
ebanas@iun.edu

Erika Rose
Office of Marketing and Communications
981-4358
erikrose@iun.edu

It’s the law in Indiana and Illinois – all drivers are prohibited from reading or sending text messages while driving. But, does that stop you?

Recognizing the very real and extreme dangers of texting while driving, Indiana University Northwest has partnered with PEER Awareness to bring to campus AwareTXT, a texting while driving simulator experience. The true-to-life car simulator will be on campus from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 17, in the Savannah/Moraine courtyard. The AwareTXT program will provide students with a safe way to understand the dangers of texting and driving, consequences of their actions, and learn how to make the right communication choices.

Today’s average teen sends close to 3,000 texts per month, according to a recently published Nielsen study. At the same time, one of the fastest and most problematic driving distractions is both reading and sending text messages.

It’s common knowledge that texting while driving can be deadly. Still, too many refuse to change their habits. Consider this, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 16 and 20, killing more than 5,000 people in this age group each year, or equivalent to roughly 80 percent of IU Northwest’s student body. Texting while driving can compound the already present dangers.

A new, nationally representative survey by Consumer Reports National Research Center showed how widespread distracted driving is, especially among younger drivers. Those surveyed, between ages 16 and 21, reported:

  • Almost half of the respondents said they had talked on a handheld phone while driving in the previous 30 days.
  • Close to 30 percent said they had texted in that time.
  • And some had operated smart-phone apps (8 percent) or used e-mail or social media (7 percent) while behind the wheel.
  • Eighty-four percent saw other young people talking on a handheld phone, more than 70 percent witnessed texting, and about a third saw peers using apps, e-mail, or social media behind the wheel.
  • Yet almost all of surveyed considered texting, using smart-phone apps, or accessing the Internet to be dangerous while driving; about 80 percent thought it was very dangerous.
  • Also, 63 percent of those surveyed saw talking on a handheld phone while driving as dangerous.

The AwareTXT simulation experience is a free event open to the public sponsored by the IU Northwest Wellness Team and the Office of Student Life.

For more information, please contact Anne Mitchell, event coordinator, at (219) 980-6611 or amitchel@iun.edu.