Representative Allen West Tests Dangers of Texting while Driving

WHAT: Join Congressman Allen West, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Palm Beach County School Superintendent Wayne Gent, and leaders from Allstate Insurance Company at Jupiter High School to participate in a distracted driving simulation.

WHY: In South Florida, texting while driving has become an epidemic, and teenagers are often the victims. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teenagers. In 2009 alone, more than 5,600 people lost their lives in crashes involving young drivers ages 15 to 20. (NHTSA)

WHO: U.S. Rep. Allen West
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw
Sgt. John and Joanne Kazanjian (parents of teen driver accident victim Kaitlin Kazanjian)
Palm Beach County School Superintendent Wayne Gent
Jupiter High School students
Allstate Florida Regional Senior Vice President Mike Sheely

WHEN: March 13, 2012
12:30 p.m.- 1:45 p.m
12:30 p.m. – Teen participation in distracted driving simulation
1 p.m. – Congressman West and Mike Sheely participation in distracted driving simulation
1:15 p.m. – Press conference with Congressman West, Mike Sheely, Sheriff Bradshaw and the Kazanjian family

WHERE: Jupiter High School, 500 Military Trail, Jupiter

VISUAL: Congressman West and students of Jupiter High School will get behind the wheel of driving simulators and experience texting and distracted driving first hand without actually being in a dangerous situation. Participants wear virtual reality goggles and drive on a video-game like course. During the driving, a text message is sent to a phone that the students must respond to while driving. A television is set up just outside the vehicle that provides the view of the passenger in the car so that those students standing around the simulator will be able to experience what the driver does in real-time. Reporters are also encouraged to try the simulator.

BACKGROUND: The STANDUP Act (Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act) aims at adopting stricter teen driving laws, including limiting the use of nightime driving until teens reach the age of 18.

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