'Distractology' simulation participants learn dangers of distracted driving


Photo courtesy of FMHS The Buzz TV.

Rose Skylstad

Students learned about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving last Tuesday through Saturday in a driving simulation called “Distractology” presented by Arbella and Aronson Insurance.
In bright blue trailer outside of Tiger Drive, students sat in drivers’ seats behind simulation monitors while going through a series of distracted driving scenarios, like texting and adjusting the radio.
“In this day and age, with all this technology readily available, it’s really easy to get distracted by your phone,” said junior Matt Geis. After participating in the simulation, Geis said that he will be “more cautious” while driving.
Arbella insurance designed the program, who partners with local insurance agencies to bring “Distractology” to high schools for free. Arbella and Aronson insurance, a local company, have partnered with North for the past six years to bring the program to North every other year, said Counselor Alison Malkin, who organizes the program at North.
Bunny Aronson, the vice president of Aronson Insurance, said, “I think it’s a wonderful experience for the kids, and I hope that they really get something out of it, use what they’ve learned, and put the phone down.”
The program’s website states, “drivers who’ve completed Distractology are proven to be 19% less likely to have major/minor accidents and 25% less likely to get traffic violations.”
“Personally, I feel that driving while distracted is very dangerous,” said junior Benjamin Libraty, who participated in the simulation. “I’m a young driver, and I want to keep everyone safe.”
Malkin, said that the simulation offers a unique teaching opportunity because it is important “to have students not just hear how dangerous it is, but really be able to sit in a simulator and have a hands-on experience.”
The surprise and reality of a simulated crash, Malkin explained, is more emotionally engaging for students. “It will resonate for a long time,” she said.
All of the 82 available spots to participate in the program were filled, said Malkin. Students who participated each won a 15 dollar gas card.
Senior Kat Ho, who also participated, said that the simulation is valuable because “it’s a driver’s responsibility to prevent distractions as much as possible.” She added that distractions “can mean life or death.”