Chapin High makes history for hosting assembly about distracted driving

WACH

CHAPIN, SC (WACH) -- Since re-branding in July, Chapin High School is the first and only high school in South Carolina that's had an assembly for AT&T's #ItCanWait campaign.

#ItCanWait started 5 years ago, and spreads awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Whether that's texts, tweets, Facebook, Snap Chat, etc. The re-branding includes Gear VR powered by Oculus, which means a more virtual and authentic experience for the distracted driving simulation.

Students were able to try out the driving simulation that lasted about 3 minutes. Joanna Dyches is the student body vice president and after moments of being on the simulator, it had great impact on her.

"You know it just feels so real and it made me feel scared. I don't wish what happened in the wreck to happen to anyone," she says.

The simulator starts off asking your age, how often you text and drive, and how dangerous you think that is. It then places you in a neighborhood and goes through a route, similar to one if you were driving to work.

Almost each stop the driver checks their text messages and the vision becomes more blurred. Horns beep and pedestrians yell. Which ultimately builds up to the last minute of the simulation.

The driver ends up getting in a tragic car accident and then floats away. At the very end you're asked how dangerous you think texting and driving is, and if you will make a pledge to no longer participate in distracted driving.

Dyches says she tries not to text and drive at all, and today's simulation and assembly solidified her practices of non-distractive driving.

Nathan Ballentine, who is a member SC House of Representatives, represents Richland and Lexington Counties. He says he hopes today stresses the importance that the best distraction is no distraction at all.

"This is really eye opening, I would love to have AT&T come to all District 5 schools so this can be spread around the Midlands and our state," he says.

He stresses that he really wants people to not be on their phones and drive, unless they come to a complete stop and are planning on getting out of the car.

Ted Creech is the Director of External Affairs for AT&T in South Carolina and adds some compelling statistics.

"200,000 accidents are caused from texting and driving, that's per year nationwide," Creech says.

#ItCanWait has reached millions so far through commercials, documentaries, and powerful videos.

If you would like to take a pledge to no longer participate in distracted driving visit www.itcanwait.com

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