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For drivers, 'Distractology 101' comes to town

Posted by Johanna Seltz  August 18, 2010 10:05 AM

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Don’t be distracted by the big yellow trailer parked at Town Hall for the rest of the month.

It’s a mobile classroom where new drivers will get a crash course in avoiding and coping with distractions, a major cause of motor vehicle accidents. Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation is underwriting the traveling training -- dubbed the “Distractology 101 Tour.”

Two local insurance companies -- the Harrington and Dowling agencies -- are sponsoring the free 45-minute classes in Braintree.

The 36-foot-long trailer is equipped with two simulators equipped with steering wheels, blinkers, gas and brake pedals, and speedometers. The “drivers” take on half a dozen dangerous scenarios shown on wide-screen monitors as they “travel” on country roads and both suburban and urban streets.

The program is based on research by the engineering department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and includes its own vocabulary.

Eating while driving, for example, could lead to a “snackcident.” Texting while driving could lead to a “textident.” And if you’re steering with your knees because your hands are busy texting, then you’re guilty of “sneering.”

More information about the local classes is available by calling 800-331-5126 or 781-848-7652.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seelenfam@verizon.net.

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