Simulator to help drive safety message
Driving simulator purchased for Sarnia school
A state-of-the-art driving simulator is to be installed this spring in a classroom at Northern Collegiate in Sarnia, thanks to an $80,000 gift from Shell.
The project grew out of discussions between a teacher and a representative of Shell, a Chemical Valley company with a history of involvement at the Sarnia high school, said Mark Sherman, superintendent of secondary schools for the Lambton Kent District School Board (LKDSB.)
In particular, they saw the technology as an opportunity for students at an age when they’re beginning to drive to learn about the dangers of distracted driving.
“We don’t do drivers ed any longer, it’s all private enterprise,” Sherman said.
But, he added: “As an educator, you always want to try to protect young people.”
The equipment uses technology developed by Virage Simulation, a Canadian company supplying simulators for driving centres, municipalities and trucking companies.
The simulator offers a look and feel said to closely resemble being behind the wheel of a car while navigating busy highways, changing road conditions and experiencing the impact of texting and driving.
“Young people are digital citizens,” Sherman said.
“So, for them to have an experience on a driving simulator is very natural for them.”
The simulator is expected to be used initially by senior students in transportation courses at Northern.
“The hope is to expand it out to other students at the school, at the senior level, and then bring in students from other LKDSB schools” for training sessions, Sherman said.
It will be the first simulator of its type at a school in the district public school board.
“We have some much smaller, simpler driving simulators” used in courses on transportation technology, Sherman said.
“But nothing on the scale of this.”
The gift from Shell covered the cost of purchasing the simulator, and the school board will pay another estimated $5,000 to $6,000 for wiring and an enclosure, he said.
“We are so excited to partner with Northern Collegiate on this initiative because road safety is of paramount importance to Shell,” Karen Miller, Shell Manufacturing Centre general manager, said in a news release.
“Thanks to this incredible technology anyone who uses the simulator will learn valuable lessons that will not only help to make them better drivers, but may even save lives.”
Plans are to install the simulator in early May, and have it enclosed shortly after that.
“We’ll get a chance to trial drive it before the end of the term and that will give the instructor a better idea as to how to build it into the curriculum,” Sherman said.
Use of the simulator is expected to fully roll out in the 2017-18 school year.
A state-of-the-art driving simulator is set to be installed in a classroom at Northern Collegiate. The equipment was purchased with an $80,000 gift from Shell.