Utah teens take virtual distracted driving spin

Tuesday , June 26, 2012 - 10:14 AM

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SALT LAKE CITY— Junior high and high school students are taking the wheel to learn about the dangers of texting and driving.

The University of Utah’s Traffic Lab is hosting an engineering camp Tuesday that’ll have teens testing out a driving simulator. They’ll learn how their reactions differ under normal and distracted driving conditions.

The new simulator uses images of Utah traffic conditions and analyzes driver behavior.

University officials say traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. Youth are three to four times more likely to crash than their older counterparts, and distractions are a major contributor to the accidents.

The school’s traffic lab is a research facility that’s connected to state and city traffic control centers. Researchers there develop new methods for controlling, monitoring and managing road traffic.

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