7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Distracted Driving Simulator

Get the answers you need to make a wise purchasing decision.

Distracted driving simulators help teach about the dangers of texting and driving.

Every day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed, and over 1,000 are injured in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver. Many schools, community groups, non-profits, and youth programs are conducting informational programs to help educate the public – especially youth and teens – about the dangers of distracted driving to help combat this increasingly prevalent issue. One way to enhance these efforts is by integrating an impactful, highly memorable, engaging, and experiential component: a distracted driving simulator. The hands-on experience that these distracted and texting and driving simulators provide help reinforce the potentially life-saving program messaging.

If you’re in the market for a distracted driving simulator, there are several factors to consider when making a purchasing decision. Consider asking the following questions to help ensure you make a wise investment:

  1. How do distracted driving simulators work?
  2. How much do they cost?
  3. Are they safe?
  4. Can anyone operate them?
  5. What are the space and terrain requirements?
  6. What type of maintenance is required?
  7. What materials are needed for operation?

Below, learn the answers to these questions about Fatal Vision® distracted driving simulators.

How do distracted driving simulators work?

Although it may sound like it, our distracted driving simulators are not virtual reality-based. Both the Roadster Pedal Kart and SIDNE (Simulated Impaired Driving Experience) electric vehicle provide a much more hands-on, realistic driving experience. When used in tandem with our Drowsy & Distracted Goggles, these distracted driving simulators let participants experience delayed reactions and other impaired effects of driving while drowsy and distracted.

While both our distracted driving simulators have the same goal, they work differently. SIDNE is an electric vehicle while the Roadster is a manually-operated pedal kart. SIDNE gives the closest experience to that of driving an actual automobile since it is motorized and has gas and brake pedals. It’s a distracted driving simulator that also has a passenger seat, while the Roadster is singularly operated. This addition of a passenger seat allows passengers to experience what it’s like to ride with a distracted or drowsy driver. While there are no settings to adjust on the Roadster, SIDNE will need to be turned to “normal” vehicle mode to operate for drowsy and distracted educational purposes.

Both the Roadster pedal kart and SIDNE electric vehicle provide a learning opportunity for onlookers as well as participants. This secondary benefit makes them great for community events aiming to help prevent distracted driving. After completing an activity with either of these distracted driving simulators, it may be helpful to ask questions of the group to encourage reflection and emphasize the importance and gravity of the exercise.

Learn more about distracted driving simulators and their benefits here.

How much do they cost?

The Roadster starts at $799 whereas SIDNE’s starting point is $14,890, depending on the customization(s) you choose. If you have a limited budget but still want the benefits of a hands-on distracted driving simulator, the Roadster may be the best option for you. If you have a larger budget or are applying for grants for your program, SIDNE may be an ideal option due to its added features.

Are they safe?

The Roadster Pedal Kart is a distracted driving simulator aiming to educate about the dangers of driving while distracted.Yes, both the Roadster and SIDNE are safe when used as recommended. These distracted driving simulators are designed low to the ground to prevent the possibility of rolling or tipping, and SIDNE does not go faster than 8mph. SIDNE has the added safety feature of remote braking so that the instructor can stop the vehicle if needed. It is also equipped with two 3-point safety belts, a wide wheelbase, and electronic braking for smooth, controlled braking action to prevent sudden or skidding stops. SIDNE also comes with a full day of on-site training included to ensure your team is versed on all the safety features and measures. The Roadster has an optional on-site training for an additional fee. Roadster and SIDNE riders are also advised to wear both helmets and seat belts for safety.

Learn more about the safety features of our distracted driving simulators here.

Can anyone operate them?

Anyone who can operate a pedal kart can operate the Roadster, making this distracted driving simulator generally better suited for a younger audience (usually starting around age 11). To operate SIDNE, participants must be of driving age (15+ with drivers permit), so they know how to properly use standard vehicle features, like a brake and gas pedal. SIDNE also has easily adjustable pedals and steering wheel to accommodate people of various sizes and heights.

What are the terrain and course space requirements?

The Roadster can be used in more environments than SIDNE, which may be an important consideration for your distracted driving program. It can be used indoors, on a paved area outside, or taken off-road, such as in the grass. SIDNE, on the other hand, cannot be taken into grassy areas and needs to stay on a paved area (either indoors or outdoors). Common spaces to use SIDNE include a school gymnasium or community center.

SIDNE is a distracted driving simulator that helps educate about the dangers of driving while distracted.As for course space requirements, SIDNE needs at least 100 x 100 feet. On the other hand, the Roadster only requires a minimum of 100 x 15 feet. If you have a smaller area to work with and need to conduct the program on different terrains, the Roadster distracted driving simulator may be the best option for you.

What type of maintenance is required?

Generally, SIDNE requires more maintenance than the Roadster since it is a motorized vehicle. However, its maintenance is minimal and may include charging batteries, maintaining tire pressure, monitoring drive belt and tire wear, and periodically changing transmitter batteries. One charge of the SIDNE batteries will last approximately 4-5 hours.

What materials are needed for operation?

Required items to operate both the Roadster and SIDNE include:

  • Safety helmets
  • Goggles (if operating on the marijuana or distracted driving course)
  • 12-inch safety cones
  • Sidewalk chalk or tape
  • Timer to compare performance when driving distracted vs. unimpaired

We recommend using about 10 cones for the Roadster courses and around 50-60 for SIDNE’s courses, making the latter better suited for a program with more volunteers to help set up the course after each demonstration.

Choosing the right distracted driving simulator to elevate your educational program can be a big decision. Consider these questions and answers to help you feel more informed and confident. To learn more about distracted driving simulators, visit our SIDNE distracted driving simulator and Roadster distracted driving simulator webpages or call 800.272.5023 today.

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