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Texting dangers demonstrated at state capitalTell North Platte what you think
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A virtual reality driving simulator is deployed at the state capital in Lincoln to highlight the dangers of distracted driving for legislators and students.

The simulator lets people experience first-hand the dangers of texting while driving.

The driving simulator, from AT&T, is a computerized car that enables users to virtually text and drive.

Young drivers learn that no message is so urgent that it is worth diverting attention from the road and risking human lives in the process, the company said.

A bill in the Legislature (LB 116) would make texting while driving a primary crime rather than the secondary offense it is now. The bill is in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.

Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff, who sponsored the bill, hopes the demonstration will advance the measure.

"I'm excited to work with AT&T to help raise awareness to the dangers of texting and driving," said Harms. "We need to put an end to this dangerous practice."

“More than 100,000 times each year, an automobile crashes and people are injured or die because the driver was texting while driving,” said Beth Canuteson, regional vice president, AT&T Nebraska, citing a statistic from the National Safety Council.

As a company, AT&T educates drivers to the dangers of texting while driving and is conducting a national "Texting & Driving...It Can Wait” campaign.

Lincoln-area students and lawmakers will have the opportunity to experience AT&T’s computerized car simulator and take a pledge to never text and drive.

More than 1 million no-texting-while-driving pledges have been logged through ItCanWait.com, social sites including Facebook, text-to-pledge and events, AT&T said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 3/26/2013
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