It’s almost unreasonable for anyone to expect a teenager to drive safely. Seriously. You’re handing a pimple-popping, Spotify-blasting, compulsively-texting, hormone bucket with legs a two ton, 200 horsepower machine–what’s essentially a tank with cruise control. It’s no wonder why the risk of vehicle crashes for teens is higher than other age group.
We can warn kids not to text and drive, but Toyota has taken the driving safety PSA to the next level with their unfortunately named (but superbly executed) “TeenDrive365” simulator. The car maker has developed a virtual reality driving program that doesn’t just train someone to drive, it bombards them with the distractions they’ll face in real life by placing them into a car with their friends, with the radio blaring, with cop cars whizzing by, and with a mobile screen in eyeshot.
“Lose your focus and you’ll experience the consequences of distracted driving within the virtual setting,” the press release warns. “But, hopefully, you’ll come away a little wiser about what it takes to be safe behind the wheel.”
The consequences you say? Would that be a ticket? A fender bender? A dinosaur that appears out of nowhere and chomps down the car then picks the virtual sinew of you and your millennial friends out of her teeth? The press release does not clarify.
Either way, the young driver, wearing an Oculus Rift headset, remains safe inside Toyota’s simulator–which looks to be a full-scale car with a workable steering wheel and pedals. And heck, even if the simulator does nothing to change their mind, at least it’ll keep them off the road a little longer.
The TeenDrive365 simulator will tour auto shows throughout 2015 and will be free for participants to try out.