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State Trooper Jeffrey Bebak says that there are distracted driving accidents everyday. Teens are often the focus of the effort to end distracted driving because of the added factor of their inexperience.

Students at Oakfield-Alabama High School today got a chance to get behind the wheel without actually getting behind the wheel to see how dangerous distracted driving is through a simulator.

Bebak says limiting distractions, whether it’s texting, eating, or anything else, will help make the roads safer.

“It’s important because we obviously don’t want students to get behind the wheel and do it first-hand on the roadways," Bebak said. "It gives them a real-life approach as to what can happen when they do get behind the wheel when they get the privilege to drive, and the dangers of texting while driving. It’s an epidemic in New York, in the country and unfortunately, a lot of people are getting hurt as a result.”

“These are all things that are taking away the focus of actually being in the car and driving, and when you take away that focus, that’s when accidents happen. We’re just trying to educate the public that they shouldn’t be doing anything put driving when they’re in the car.”

Michael Granica is a financial specialist at Nationwide Insurance, a sponsor of the event. He says that even if one student gets the message, the program is working.

“We’ve had several students come back to us and say that after the program they thought about putting their phones down and they haven’t used them since," Granica said. "So, if we’re able to change the habits of one person while they’re driving, everything that we’ve done to promote safe driving has been worth it.”

Bebak says teen drivers can feel like they’re invincible and that they can handle multiple activities, even while driving, which just isn't true.

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