VASSALBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As Maine begins enforcing its new texting while driving law, officers who work with teenage drivers are getting a new tool to help teach the consequences of texting and other distracted driving behaviors.
The Bureau of Highway Safety is rolling out a new driver education program statewide. Police officers and sheriff's deputies from around the state were training on it Thursday. The program includes a two hour course in a classroom for students with the hope that their parents will participate, too. After the course, students will be able to test their skills against one of two driving simulators that the state has purchased with a $20,000 grant from the Ford Motor Foundation.
The simulator allows students to try texting while driving, and it has an impaired driving setting as well. The simulator has 600 different scenarios that get activated depending on what a student does behind the wheel because it shows students the consequences of their mistakes. The computer shows field sobriety tests, takes you to court, even shows you a grieving relative of the pedestrian that you hit.
Bob Annese, the Law Enforcement Liason for the Bureau of Highway Safety said, "It's the first time that we have a program that can go out to all the school resource officers or school liaison officers where we're on the same page. We're all teaching the same thing and we all have access to the same equipment and I think we can reach more students that way."
The simulator has gone out to a couple of safety fairs already. Next week, Bath will have it for class and one on one sessions with students and their school resource officer.