The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates an estimated 2 million new drivers are hitting the road each year. One main reason for the number of annual crashes on our roadways each year is directly related to driver inexperience.
According to ABC Action News in Phoenix, an Arizona father, is hoping to help teen drivers be a little better behind the wheel in unexpected situations by creating a video game.
It all began when Bob Davis narrowly escaped a serious accident caused by a truck in front of him with an unsecured load. That harrowing situation made Davis aware that if his 14-year-old son had been in the driver’s seat instead, it could have proved deadly.
Davis believes that while driver’s education that is taught in schools or by parents in abandoned parking lots as a starting point, it doesn’t adequately prepare teen drivers to make a split-second decision that they probably have never had to face before. Emergency vehicles, fog, or other dangers don’t often come up during drives with parents or in driver’s education classes.
Davis created a simulated driving program, Virtual Driver Interactive, for use in the classroom. The system comes with a steering wheel, pedals, and a monitor that gives several simulated scenarios for teens to navigate through. Right now, Virtual Driver Interactive has been used with success by the Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix.
Because not all teens have a driver’s education program at their school, Davis created a video game for Xbox gaming consoles that can be downloaded directly from the Xbox store for $39. The game, Driving Essentials XE encourages teen drivers who play the game by rewarding good habits such as checking their mirrors, using a turn signal or avoiding distractions while driving.
The game teaches responsibility as well. If players happen to get into a crash, the game will take them before the court and a real judge who is in partnership with the game’s creators.
The company that is developing this dad-created driving game is expected to also develop it for the PlayStation 4 gaming systems in the near future.