From video games with gaming headphones and virtual reality (VR) systems to smart phones and social media, today’s college students make up the most tech-savvy generation in history. In early 2007, college entertainment specialist and CEO of Cutting Edge Productions (CEP Inc.), Mike Seymore, recognized this trend and decided to do something that served the greater good. Fast forward to 2017, and the PEERS Foundation is celebrating ten years of saving lives on college campuses with their DUI and Distracted Driving Simulators.
From their very first events at West Virginia’s Davis & Elkins College on Sept. 12, 2007, and Eastern Illinois University just two days later, the PEERS Foundation has run nearly 5000 DUI and Distracted Driving Prevention events on college campuses, in high schools, and at corporate sponsored events across the country. And they’ve attracted a lot of attention.
Corporate partners have included State Farm Insurance with their Reality Check Tour and AT&T with the It Can Wait Campaign. Another partner, Toyota, took the country by storm. Using the PEERS simulator and brand ambassadors, Toyota’s Teen Drive 365 program won five national awards in 2015. Most recently, the GM Foundation has taken notice and awarded the PEERS Foundation a six-figure grant commissioning them to use emerging technologies to develop the next evolution of distracted driving prevention software.
But the simulator is also popular beyond corporate America. In 2012, Campus Activities Magazine awarded the Novelty Variety Program of the Year Award to the PEERS Foundation. It was the first time in the college magazine’s history that an educational program had won the entertainment award. “That’s how much fun our simulator is,” commented PEERS CEO, Mike Seymore. “And while they are having fun, the students are being impacted and learning on a deeper level.”
Designed to educate students about the extreme danger of distracted and/or drunk driving, a PEERS DUI and Distracted Driving Prevention event meets the students where they are and uses the latest virtual reality technology to engage the students in simulated driving experiences. Student participants sit behind the wheel of a real car that has been wired with motion sensors on the gas and brake pedals and an Oculous Rift or similar VR headset to experience driving in an impaired or distracted state. As a result, 88% of participating students have pledged to no longer text and drive.
Christopher Butler, a student from Buford, Georgia, commented, “I thought I was pretty good, but I killed myself in the simulation.” Christopher and several of his friends signed the pledge.
While DUI infractions continue to be a major problem on college campuses across the country, statistics show that a person who’s texting and driving is 22 times more likely to get into an accident than someone who’s driving while intoxicated.
Additionally, distracted driving is a factor in:
- 60% of teen crashes
- 89% of road departure crashes
- 76% of all rear-impact crashes
When a PEERS Foundation DUI and Distracted Driving Prevention event is scheduled on your campus, the 6-hour program is completely self-contained. PEERS Foundation supplies all of the equipment along with technicians and facilitators who have been on hundreds of college campuses with the program and are trained to interact with your students. For more information or to schedule the PEERS Foundation’s DUI and Distracted Driving Simulator on your college campus, call 866-949-7337.