Posted By: Camila Orti
Troopers say 16–year–old drivers were involved in more than 1,700 crashes in Nebraska last year. The Nebraska State Patrol unveiled a new device Friday in hopes that it will help push those numbers down.
A $20,000 donation from State Farm Insurance helped purchase the Ultra Cockpit Driving Simulator. The machine, which looks like a big arcade game, exposes the user to real driving scenarios and dangers, including driving in rain and snow or in rural areas with deer.
Along with a rollover simulator and the Seatbelt Convincer, the new device will be taken to hundreds of schools and community groups across the state to promote safe driving habits.
Students at Pius X High School got the message after troopers put on a demonstration last month as part of the 'Celebrate My Drive' initiative.
"I make sure everyone buckles up in the car when they're with me," student Alec Hruby said. He says he thought the interactive demonstration got the point across more clearly.
"It's a lot easier because I get to experience it with my own feelings and senses," Hruby said.
Troopers agree. The goal of these devices is to save young lives.
According to the State Patrol, 22 teenagers were killed on Nebraska roads this year.
One of those was 15–year–old Taylon Artman in an August crash near Waverly. Authorities say the teen driver didn't have a license and was inexperienced.
Another accident took the lives of three Fremont teens in June.
"We in the business of public safety need to continue efforts to educate and raise awareness of the responsibilities faced by our teen drivers," Lt. Col. Thomas Schwarten with the State Patrol said.