Colerain students shown dangers of texting and driving with simulator

COLERAIN, Ohio - Students at Colerain High School were given hands-on training on Monday about the dangers of texting while driving as the state's grace period for the offense approaches.

Students used an automobile-based simulator as part of a national It Can Wait campaign presented by AT&T.

"More than a 100,000 times each year, an automobile crashes and people are injured or die while a driver was texting and driving," said Mark Romito, AT&T Director of External Affairs.

For student Jacob Lindner, the simulator drove home a valuable lesson after he crashed within ten seconds.

"Right after I got up to speed, they had me send a text and then once I got two words into it I ended up going off the roadway and crashing into the hill," Lindner said.

The grace period for Ohio's texting while driving ban ends next week allowing police officers to issue citations beginning March 1.

"There's been a lot of studies on texting and driving and one study shows that texting while driving is equivalent to four beers which for a lot of people that would put you legally drunk," said Trooper Jeremy Grillot with Ohio State Highway Patrol.

If convicted, drivers face a $150 fine and up to six months suspension after the first offense.

"It's the most stringent law of its kind in the United States and finally you get a law in there with some teeth to hopefully change this. $150 sounds like a steep fine but it's certainly better than death or injury," said State Representative Lou Blessing, (R) Ohio.

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