A student test drives the simulator to see how difficult and dangerous it is to text and drive.At any given moment in the day, 800,000 drivers are on the road AND using their cell phones. There are many reasons people have for using their phones: getting directions, taking an important call, returning a text and taking pictures – just to name a few.

We all know using a cell phone while driving is not safe (and against the law in Vermont), but many people continue to do it regardless of the risk. The risk is especially high if you are texting and driving. Texting while driving causes 1.6 million car crashes and 330,000 injuries per year, and 7 teen deaths every single day.

That’s why UVM Medical Center and the Clinical Simulation Laboratory at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM created “TXT U L8R,” a unique program designed to discourage individuals from texting while driving. Our 90 minute program includes an advanced driving simulator to demonstrate the dangers of texting and driving, a simulated trauma scenario depicting the attempted resuscitation of a teen driver after a crash due to texting and driving, and a personal testimonial from Debbie Drewniak, the victim of a teen driver that was texting and driving.

TXT U L8R has been offered to the general public since 2013. We have reached over 300 students and their families and have learned a lot in the process. For example:

  • 38 percent of students polled in one survey, revealed that their friends text and drive “all the time”
  • 44 percent of students said that their parents text and drive “all the time”

These survey results support the national data from an AT&T study that found 49 percent of all commuters self-report texting while driving, compared to 43 percent of teens. We are all at risk.

For most, texting while driving has become a habit. But, there are ways to break the habit.

University of Vermont Medical Center is committed to helping individuals break the texting habit through outreach and educational programming. The goal is to put your phone down and keep your eyes on the road while driving.

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