Tonawanda News — Some parents, if asked, will admit the irony of letting their children drive.
The day most every child is born, parents typically do all they can to keep that child alive and well. And then, on the child’s 16th birthday, they hand over the keys to the family car.
That moment is often filled with trepidation, but a new program at the University at Buffalo has been created to make teens safer on the road.
Kevin F. Hulme, PhD, runs the motion-simulation lab at the university’s north campus, and he’s looking for students to sign up for his driver training program, which provides a free simulated driving experience to pre-licensed drivers.
The simulator, parts of which were donated by Moog Inc. in East Aurora, is built around an actual car, and gives teens the opportunity to experience the way that chatting with friends or trying to text while driving, can lead to deadly consequences — in a safe multi-screened video environment.
Hulme took a few moments out of his day recently to show a visitor the high-tech new driving simulator and answer a few questions about his program.
QUESTION: Can you describe how the program works?
ANSWER: We’ve put together a 10-hour training experience. The teens come for five two-hour sessions. We try to bring them in a pair at a time. But we have to get the word out to parents that ‘Hey, parents, we have a program and it’s free if your teen is eligible.’
Q: Who is eligible?
A: We’re trying to get kids at a stage where they haven’t yet developed bad driving habits. We’re trying to impart good driving habits at the outset. We think this additional supplemental training can be a huge benefit. So, they have to have a permit, but no driver’s license. We want to target inexperienced kids.