West Fargo Students Enter Virtual Reality to Stop Texting While Driving

The school partnered with AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign

WEST FARGO, N.D. —┬áStudents from West Fargo High School took a break from the real world and instead entered a virtual reality for a change.

The simulation showed students what could happen when they get behind the wheel and get even the least bit distracted by texting.

Life threatening or fatal car accidents can be caused by a driver who’s texting behind the wheel.

But the faculty at West Fargo High School is trying to make sure their students don’t end up in that situation by putting them behind the virtual wheel instead.

“It was really seeing everything crash and going above the building. It was crazy,” said freshman Haleigh Carey.

The school partnered with AT&T to put students into a virtual world that imitates what the consequences of texting and driving could look like, which tends to happen more than some may think.

“If they haven’t been in a crash or have a close call at this point in time, it’s second nature to them,” said Jason Balvik, West Fargo High’s safety resource officer. ‘It’s kind of like when they’re walking down the hall, their heads are in their phone or they’re texting away, Snapchatting or doing whatever they’re doing with their electronics.”

However, education isn’t the only way to prevent people from texting while driving.

The newest iPhone update offers a Do Not Disturb feature which automatically shuts a driver’s text message notifications and notifies friends and family they can’t respond because they’re driving.

Some students say they started using the feature before they even went to the simulation.

“I don’t want people calling and texting me while I’m driving. It’s just not safe,” said freshman Bobby Dorbor.

Which is why some of these new drivers have some advice not just for fellow teens but for anyone who is thinking about answering a text while driving.

“Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. I mean there are so many other things you could be doing like paying attention while you’re driving instead of texting someone. It can wait,” Carey said.

If you’d like to try the texting and driving virtual reality simulator, you can download AT&T’s free DriveMode app.

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