UAB taking their driving simulator statewide with new grant money

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:56 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB driving experts say teen drivers are some of the most distracted drivers.

To highlight the dangers of what happens when you’re distracted in a car, UAB’s TRIP Lab created a portable driving simulator for teens.

State Farm, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Honda awarded the TRIP Lab $125,000 to take the program to rural areas and underserved communities.

“There’s nothing quite like experiencing it for yourself to understand how this can affect you negatively,” said Dr. Ben McManus, the assistant director of UAB’s TRIP Lab.

The simulator gives students an opportunity to drive distracted and see what it does to their driving safety.

“We can show them and all who are watching here’s what’s happening to your driving,” McManus said. “Your speed, your ability to stay in the lane and how negatively it effects your ability to drive safely.”

UAB not only takes the stimulator to individual classrooms, but community events as well.

“So, for the portable stimulator it has a steering wheel, pedals and a very large, curved monitor, so it is immersive,” McManus said.

The program is also funded by the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

The program launched last spring and they have been able to reach thousands of students.

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