BOWLING GREEN, KY. Young drivers will have an opportunity to improve their driving skills at the National Corvette Museum, thanks to a grant from the state of Kentucky.
Gov. Ernie Fletcher presented the museum's executive director, Wendell Strode, with a replica of a $198,000 check for a driving simulation theater.
The simulator is designed to be fun but with a serious purpose: The "driver" and those watching get a realistic driving experience in which they learn the hazards of the highway.
"This is another tool to improve highway safety," said Governor Fletcher, who with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials presented the ceremonial check.
"It is an innovative and safe way to experience the dangers of driving. The project targets young drivers who have the highest accident and fatality rates. The simulated driving experience will better prepare our younger drivers for actual driving conditions," Governor Fletcher said.
Funding for the simulator theater is from the federal Transportation Enhancement (TE) program, which provides money for an array of nontraditional transportation projects.
The simulator uses real car components and high-quality graphics. Realistic driving scenarios are played out on simulated highways in urban and rural settings and different weather conditions. The "driver" feels tension on the steering wheel, feels the car react to road surface and hears highway and vehicle sounds. The simulated experience will include a variety of driving tasks and take young drivers through some of the most common factors in highway crashes.
"Bowling Green is the home of the Corvette and it is my hope that this will encourage young people to pay even more attention to the message," said Rep. Jim DeCesare (R-Bowling Green). "Young people have the highest percentage of accidents, and many of these accidents are preventable by not drinking and driving, and by driving cautiously. This is a wonderful opportunity to impact young drivers. Governor Fletcher is to be commended for his leadership."
The simulators are expected to be installed by summer 2008.