North Vancouver students simulate distracted driving

Ben Righetti / December 3rd, 2019

The distracted driving simulator set up at Sutherland Secondary
(Ben Righetti / BCIT News)

This National Safe Driving Week, North Vancouver RCMP and ICBC have partnered together in an attempt to show students the dangers of driving while either distracted or impaired.

Students at Sutherland Secondary School were put to the test in a pair of exercises during their third period classes. A distracted driving simulator and a pair of goggles that impair vision were used to demonstrate the difficulty of driving while impaired or distracted.

Distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes in BC, surpassing impaired driving. It also is a more common factor in fatal crashes than any other type of impairment.

ICBC road safety coordinator Harvey Kooner says the simulation in the school is a very accurate representation of what happens on the roads.

“You see teens that try to text while they drive, and you see the impact right away. Whether it’s swerving or pass a stop sign or run a red light, there’s a lot of different behaviors that come up when you are a distracted driver.” – Harvey Kooner, ICBC road safety coordinator

Kooner was also joined at the high school by a handful of officers from the North Vancouver RCMP. Among those were Sgt. Peter DeVries, who believes high schoolers are the most in need when it comes to being told to leave the phone alone when driving.

“We know that in order to influence people, it’s best done at a young age. A lot of studies have shown that police intervention in schools is a great way to influence students. So we are here today, targeting new and learner drivers, trying to get the message through to them.” – Sgt. Peter DeVries, RCMP North Vancouver

A student tries to text while driving on the simulator at Sutherland Secondary
(Ben Righetti / BCIT News)

Sgt. DeVries believes the simulations have been a success, proving to students that it’s unsafe to multi task behind the wheel. He added that across the lower mainland, there will be more police check points and tickets written for impaired and distracted driving.

DeVries noted that last weekend, his group pulled 10 people off the road in a six hour shift, surprising the sergeant. However he said he expects it to get worse closer to the holiday season.