Let’s Talk Science (LTS) is a national charitable organization committed to building youth interest and engagement in science. On April 25th, 2016, the LTS Fun House was held at the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto. The Human Factors and Applied Statistics Laboratory, HFASt, created an informative activity to teach attending elementary school students about driving safety and related research. For this purpose, a low fidelity driving simulator was used, which consisted of a laptop, a steering wheel, and accelerator and brake pedals. The students were asked to text message while drive, which, in most cases, led to crashes in the simulator. This demonstrated how dangerous distracted driving can be.
In general, the type of driver distractions that are of highest concern are the ones that have a visual-manual component with the drivers taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel at inopportune times. This simple yet powerful demonstration on the dangers of such distractions was well received by the students who participated in Let’s Talk Science Fun House. In fact, those who attended voted our booth to be the most informative and interesting one.