Distracted driving simulator to be at DMV

Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore announced a safe driving event will take place at the Dunkirk DMV office at 3988 Vineyard Drive on Monday beginning at 1:30 p.m. The event, co-hosted by Barmore and County Executive Vince Horrigan, is open to the public and is intended to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. AT&T’s It Can Wait 3D virtual reality simulators will be available at the Dunkirk DMV throughout the afternoon so drivers can experience the dangers of distracted driving in a safe setting.

“Distracted driving is a deadly issue and with the start of the school year, we want all drivers to understand the dangers are real,” said Barmore. “Both adult drivers and teen drivers are guilty of distracted driving. Hopefully this event will make everyone more careful drivers.”

Horrigan has proclaimed September “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” to call attention to the dangers of driving while distracted. Horrigan noted the added dangers at the beginning of the school year as more children are crossing the roads and getting on and off school buses.

The virtual reality simulator focuses on the dangers of smartphone distractions while driving and the unique virtual reality simulator experience is part of the It Can Wait campaign, which urges drivers to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phones. The campaign began with a focus on not texting and driving. It has now expanded to the broader dangers of smartphone use behind the wheel. This educational and free opportunity will allow visitors to the DMV to experience firsthand how dangerous it is to take their eyes off the road and glance at a phone even for just two seconds.

Research shows that seven in 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving. It’s no longer safe to assume that people are just texting from behind the wheel. They’re checking email, posting to social media, snapping selfies and even video chatting and playing games like Pokemon Go.

“We encourage the public to come and experience the simulator and most of all, to pay attention while driving. You’re not only risking your life, your risking the lives of everyone around you,” urged Barmore.