State Fair features distracted driving simulator


This is the final weekend for this year's Indiana State Fair. If you haven't had a chance to make it out to the fairgrounds, there are some things you and your teenage drivers may be interested in.

Allstate Insurance Company is bringing its Reality Rides simulator to the Indiana State Fair from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday. It's in an effort to bring awareness about distraction-free driving.

A curved LED television embedded in the windshield of a real vehicle will serve as the centerpiece of the event and additional flat-screen monitors allow drivers waiting their turn to see what the simulator driver is experiencing.

Reality Rides consists of a driving simulator that utilizes a real, but stationary, vehicle equipped with virtual reality technology. The television embedded in the windshield displays an animated environment and reacts to the driver's motions.

Using the car's steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, the driver is tasked with maneuvering through the virtual course while also attempting to text, talk on the phone and enter navigation system directions.

The simulations demonstrate the potential consequences distracted drivers could face while on the road.

To add impact to the simulations, Indiana's participants are given traffic tickets that reveal potential infractions a driver could receive if the experience happened in real life.

Last year, the first tour surveyed more than 1,700 people who experienced the Reality Rides simulator. Nearly three in every four respondents said they learned more about distracted driving after experiencing the simulation, and 83 percent found the program "fun and effective," which fueled Allstate to continue the efforts in 2014.