New Video Game Puts Players in the Driver’s Seat to Show Dangers of Texting while Driving
Joseph Stalin famously—and ironically—borrowed from the pacifist writer Erich Maria Remarque when the Russian leader remarked that the death of one is a tragedy but the death of a million is a statistic. That quote has special relevance to the growing problem of car accidents caused by texting while driving, and it is something the maker of a new video game addresses head-on (literally).
The game SMS Racing was created by Holden Link as part of the Ludum Dare, a video game competition that challenges developers to build games from scratch over the course of a weekend. SMS Racing tasks players with making it around a track as fast as possible while receiving and responding to text messages, which diverts your attention from the road.
If you don’t respond to incoming texts in a timely fashion, your lap time is docked; when your video driver looks down at the smart phone keyboard as you type a response, however, you may veer off the road. The game demonstrates how quickly sending a text message while driving can turn tragic.
According to research cited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), texting takes your eyes away from the road for 4.6 seconds; if you’re driving 55 mph, that is the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field while blindfolded. The NHTSA estimates that cell phone use, texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving contribute to more than 3,000 deaths in motor vehicle accidents each year.
By confronting players with the decision to text and the ramifications of doing so, SMS Racing effectively dramatizes the dangers of texting while driving in a way that simply knowing the statistics cannot. For additional information on distracted driving accidents, please see our page regarding Cell Phone Use and Auto Accidents.