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Young Drivers Texting At Sioux Empire Fair

August 10, 2012, 10:11 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Young Drivers Texting At Sioux Empire Fair
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

It's a free ride that teaches you to wait. Sioux Empire Fairgoers may learn the most from a ride that distracts them while in the hot-seat.

“Basically you’re picking up a friend,” Kelly Harbin explained to his daughter, Jade Reynolds sitting at the machine. “Listen to what they tell you,” he said.

It's as close to the real thing as you can get for the 15-year-old.

“I thought it was going to be easy to brake and stuff, but it took longer if you put your foot on the pedal,” Reynolds said following a drunken driving simulation.

The simulators are part of children's safety activities at the Sioux Empire Fair designed to get drivers thinking young. The mock road trip illustrates what can happen to anyone, not just teens, who break driving laws or aren't prepared for consequences that come with the hazards of the road.

“They might not notice how bad they were driving, but their friends might notice and say, you are all over the road. So that's impactful too,” Bobbi Lower with the Sioux Empire Safety Village said.

“They normally go off the road and veer of the road when they're getting the phone out. Most have to text and try to watch the screen,” Harbin said.

Harbin also runs the simulators for all fair-goers. His daughter won’t get her license for about a year, but he says the two have already spent time practicing on the real road. Harbin has also repeatedly told her that texting is not allowed.

“She's proud of her texting abilities,” Harbin said. “All kids are at this age, but texting and driving is a no-no.”

The simulations are just one too to begin drilling the idea into young drivers' minds when consequences only come on a screen and not in a court room.

The simulations run until 7 p.m. each night at the Sioux Empire Fair in the Children's Safety Activities building just off the midway near the roller coaster.

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