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Distractology teaches students dangers of texting and driving

Date: 2/20/2015

AGAWAM – Young drivers in Agawam learned just how dangerous distracted driving can be this week. Distractology 101, a program sponsored and developed by Arbella Insurance Foundation, was at the Insurance Center of New England Inc. from Feb. 16 to 20, presenting students with the dangers of texting while driving.

The van includes two driver’s seats designed to simulate real-time driving. Students are asked to complete different tours, rural, suburban and city driving with different speed limits.

They are then asked to complete the same courses while texting.

For 16-year-old Trey Miller, this meant crashing into the back of a simulated green pick-up truck that stopped short on a country road.

Miller, who just earned his learner’s permit just hours before participating in Distractology, was not expecting the course to be as difficult as it was.

“It’s challenging. It’s surprising,” Miller said. “I thought I would be more focused. I’m more distracted than I thought I would be.”

Though Agawam and surrounding school districts were on vacation the week that the van was stationed at the Insurance Center, around 80 students signed up to take the course. Elm and Agawam Auto Schools even brought student drivers in to take their turn.

Miller’s mother, Vicki, said she thinks Distractology is beneficial and should be offered at all drivers’ education programs.

“I think it’s a great thing they should all learn. Nowadays kids are extremely distracted. Their phone vibrates, it rings, they have to change the radio because the song isn’t good enough. There’s always something,” she said.

To learn more about the Distractology 101 program, visit www.distractu.com.