MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2016
Through the efforts of the Bellefontaine Rotary Club, local donors and the Maria Tiberi Foundations, local schools and the Logan County community will have access to two distracted driving simulators. The simulators are designed to educate teen drivers about distracted driving, including texting while driving and impaired driving. The student's own cell phone can be plugged into the simulator for a truly realistic experience. The simulators even go so far as to bring in police and medical responders, and a hospital setting. Many scenarios end in a courtroom to face the legal consequences of driving while distracted.
The project began in the fall of 2015 when Dr. Brent Swartz, a Bellefontaine Rotary club member, looked into having Dom Tiberi (Maria's father) speak to the club about distracted driving and sharing Maria's Message. Maria was a 21 year old college student when a car crash claimed her life. The cause of her distraction has never been identified, but the goal of the foundation is to help raise awareness of many types of distracted driving and prevent as many distraction-related accidents as possible. Dr. Swartz learned about the driving simulator project through his research, and after receiving approval to proceed with the project from the board, he contacted several local businesses to seek donations, as well as asked for involvement from the Bellefontaine Police Department and Logan County Sheriff's office.
The Maria Tiberi Foundation was so impressed with the local fundraising efforts they donated a second simulator. Each simulator has a cost of $15,000.
The Bellefontaine Police Department will be the managing recipient of the simulators and they will be shared with the Sheriff's office and other local law enforcement agencies for school outreaches, community events and other educational activities. Plans also include leaving the simulators at local schools for a few weeks at a time to allow students to experience the various behind-the-wheel situations. What a blessing these simulators our to our community!
We are so pleased to have been a contributor to this amazing project. We have always taken our commitment to education teenage drivers seriously, speaking to newly licensed drivers about distractions, what to do in the event of an accident, and insurance basics. These simulators are wonderful tools to protect our young drivers and we are passionate about getting them to as many students as possible.
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