Mall goers get driven to distraction

Pictured, from left, Cornwall police Const. Matt Dupuis, Drivesafe road safety instructor Steve Collins, Cornwall police Chief Dan Parkinson, Todd Rozon of Rozon Insurance Brokers Ltd., Carmel Greene of Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group and Pierre Lefebvre of Marleau Brothers Limited on May 11, 2015. The SD&G Insurance Brokers Association, a number of local underwriters, the health unit and Cornwall Rotary Club, helped sponsor the simulator at Cornwall Square. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Facing a mix of wildlife, bad weather and careless pedestrians, people at Cornwall Square – all armed with their cell phones – got a good idea of what it’s like to be distracted behind the wheel.

The Cornwall Community Police Service has a distracted driving simulator set up at the mall as part of Police Week activities.

Leo Paul Marion, 24, from Ingleside was one of the first people to take the virtual vehicle out for a spin Monday afternoon.

“It makes you double think…big time…before texting and driving. I’m definitely never doing it again…ever,” Marion told Cornwall Newswatch.

Marion plans to study Police Foundations and says he’s been conscious of his bad – and illegal – habit. “The last few months I’ve been putting it down (the phone)…so I’ve been stopping. Occasionally you do get that important text but, after today, it’s worth waiting,” he stated.

Leo Paul Marion of Ingleside attempts to send a text while operating the distracted driving simulator at Cornwall Square May 11, 2015. Const. Matt Dupuis watches his progress. The simulator is part of a number events for Police Week. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)
Leo Paul Marion of Ingleside attempts to send a text while operating the distracted driving simulator at Cornwall Square May 11, 2015. Const. Matt Dupuis watches his progress. The simulator is part of a number events for Police Week. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

Cornwall police traffic officer, Matt Dupuis, says the simulator is a great way to get people to realize that events are happening around them.

“That’s the major thing with this (simulator is) to tell people, things are going on around them without them realizing it. So, you may be going down the same street you’ve driven every day but that one kid’s going to be coming across the road and you’re going to hit that kid (because you’re distracted),” Dupuis said.

A collision may not be your fault but you could have avoided it. Const. Dupuis adds being off your phone will make you better aware of your surroundings when it comes to collision avoidance.

The three-screen simulator, with everything you would find in a car right down to the seat belt, was made possible through funding from the local health unit, the SD&G Insurance Brokers Association and a number of underwriters, and the Rotary Club of Cornwall.

Chief Dan Parkinson says, at $1,800 a day, the community partners didn’t hesitate in funding the simulator because they understand the value. “They lined up with us as soon as the request went out.”

“For us to get this during Police Week is amazing,” Const. Dupuis added.

The simulator is free at the mall for the rest of today (until 9 p.m.) and Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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