James Monroe High School students recently experienced the dangers of distracted driving through the use of a simulator.

Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety partners with Virginia State Police to bring the Distracted and Impaired Driving Simulator to schools and youth groups.

Students drive the simulator through a course while accompanied by a Virginia State Police trooper. They are intentionally distracted by texts, the radio and passengers, or wear DUI goggles.

“The simulator shows teens the consequences of risky driving behaviors,” said Casey Taylor, program development coordinator for YOVASO. “It creates the environment for students to talk with each other and law enforcement about driver and passenger safety.”

State Farm is a supporter of YOVASO through funding from its Good Neighbor Citizenship grant program.

“Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among teens in the U.S.,” said Gary Boxley, a State Farm agent, in Dumfries. “So it was a no-brainer for me to partner with VSP and YOVASO to bring awareness and education on distracted driving to my community and the school that my wife, two sons and I graduated from. State Farm and I stay strongly committed to doing everything we can to reduce teen crashes and help save lives.”

Preliminary data indicates 71 teens were killed in motor vehicle crashes in Virginia last year. With the high-risk warm weather months approaching, YOVASO’s goal is to encourage teens to drive safely and more responsibly, and to prevent traffic fatalities. To learn more about this program, visit YOVASO’s Interactive Programs Page at yovaso.org.

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