Pinellas County distracted driving program debuts at Dunedin High School

Sheriff's office hopes other schools join in

DUNEDIN, Fla. - The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office introduced what they believe is a very effective way to combat distracted driving.

The TRADD program, Targeted Response Against Distracted Driving, began Friday. Officers were at Dunedin High School to help students navigate multiple courses that simulated intoxication and distractions on the roadway.

The equipment was funded by a nearly $48,000 grant from State Farm. The equipment includes dozens of peddle cards coupled with goggles that when worn simulate different levels of intoxication and drowsiness.

There are other courses -- notably, an ATV track that forces students to drive while receiving texts, listening to loud music and making sudden stops.

Students we spoke with didn't feel they did well, and that's exactly what the sheriff's office hopes will encourage them to take precaution in the future.

"You know that phone right there is a person actually texting me. They say, 'Hey, are you going to the party? Why aren't you texting me back,'" said Austin Setzer after completing the ATV course. Setzer, a student at Dunedin, said the exercise helped him realize how harmful and destructive distractions can be on the roadway.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is hopeful the TRADD program will continue to make its rounds to other area high schools. 

For more information on the program, click here.

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