New measures are being taken to curb distracted driving and it seems virtual reality is the next trend to educate Canadians on the risk of picking up the device.
Manitoba banned the use of mobile devices — which includes the use of smartphones, tablets, iPods, GPS and MP3 players, cellphone, laptops and DVD players — while driving in 2010, with fines topping $200 CAD if caught. In 2013, the province escalated the fine to include two demerit points, then to be “firm with new drivers” jumped it up further to a total of five demerit points in 2015.
Manitoba Public Insurance has launched DRIVR-X, an immersive “virtual environment that mimics realistic experiences and temptations facing new young drivers today.” The VR headset of choice is the HTC Vive. DRIVR-X simulation is now being embedded within various high schools and community events to show the impacts of distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding.
Ward Keith, vice-president, loss prevention and communications, Manitoba public insurance, said, “Our hope is that these realistic experiences will bring the dangers and consequences of unsafe driving to life for new young drivers. In doing so, we hope to spark important conversations about the importance of making safe driving decisions that can literally protect them for a lifetime.”