VR Simulator Helps In Anti-Texting Effort

VR Simulator Helps In Anti-Texting Effort
May 15, 2017
Christopher Johnson, right, AT&T tour spokesperson, explains what is happening as City of Odessa employee Gloria Gonzalez experiences distracted driving in an AT&T "It Can Wait" 3-D virtual reality simulation Thursday morning at city hall.


Organizers behind an AT&T driven-effort to raise awareness about the hazards of using smart phones while driving made a stop at City Hall in Odessa on Thursday to help spread the message.


The nationwide campaign, dubbed “It Can Wait,” uses a driving 3D virtual reality simulator to show the user what can happen when a driver is distracted and there are pedestrians nearby.


“It’s powerful,” said AT&T spokesman Christopher Johnson. “It’s a powerful reminder.”


AT&T cited statistics that show seven out of 10 people use their smart phones while driving. Much too often people do more than just text as they also check their email, post messages to social media sites and even take selfies, the utility reported.


In an effort to dissuade people from using their smart phones while they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle AT&T launched the “It Can Wait” campaign beginning in 2010 by having people use the virtual reality simulator.


This device allows the user to experience “how dangerous it is to take their eyes off the road and glance at a phone,” AT&T reported.


The nationwide tour was kicked off Wednesday in Midland and will proceed in making stops throughout Texas and 52 other cities for the next 90 days, Johnson said.


A simulator was placed at City Hall in Odessa, where mostly city employees used the device, said AT&T spokeswoman Irma Bocanegra.


Johnson explained that since its inception the effort appears to have helped raise awareness about the inherent dangers of distracted driving based on 90 percent of people who have been surveyed.


In addition, AT&T reports that the anti-texting campaign has inspired more than 15 million people in making pledges to not drive and use their Smart phones at the same time.


“When you’re behind the wheel everything can change in the blink of an eye,” the utility said in a press statement. “A post, a selfie, a text, a scroll, an email -- one look is all it takes.”

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