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AT&T It Can Wait Tour shows dangers of using a smartphone while driving

Written by Merriell Moyer, Lebanon Daily News | Feb 17, 2016 6:30 PM
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Lebanon Valley College students try the virtual reality simulator as the AT&T It Can Wait tour visited Lebanon Valley College with its virtual reality simulator on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016. (Photo: Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News)

In an effort to make the residents of Lebanon County aware of the dangers of using their smartphones while driving, AT&T scheduled one of the four stops in the Pennsylvania leg of the It Can Wait Tour Tuesday at Lebanon Valley College, 101 College Ave, Annville.

Seven out of every 10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving, resulting in 200,000 accidents each year, according to research commissioned by AT&T and conducted by Braun Research. The research involved polling 2,067 people in the U.S. between the ages of 16 and 65 who use their smartphone and drive at least once per day.

The It Can Wait Tour involves the use of a virtual reality simulation to demonstrate how quickly a distracted driver can cause a crash.

"This is the fifth year in a row AT&T has put together this tour," Brian Jenkins, spokesperson for the It Can Wait Tour, said. "We take the tour to 100 different locations across the U.S., and this year we will be at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions."

For the first four years of the tour, the focus was on texting and driving, Jenkins said, but that changed for the 2016 tour.

"People are doing more than texting with their phones now," Jenkins said. "They're accessing social media and taking selfies, so we broadened the focus to include all smartphone activity."

Those who participate in the simulation must sit in a single-seat replica of a car where they strap on Samsung virtual reality goggles and a pair of Bose headphones that serve to simulate the experience of being in a crash caused by distracted driving.

"It is really realistic," Gabbi Pretot, a student who participated in the simulation, said. "You get a full 360-degree view of what is going on as you're driving, then it has you look down for a second and that is when it simulates hitting another car. The chair vibrates and it sounds like a real crash. It felt real."


This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between Lebanon Daily News and WITF. 

Published in Lebanon, News

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