Teen drivers in Connecticut now have a new resource when it comes to learning safe driving skills.
The Teen Driving Simulator Center is now open in Rocky Hill. It's a partnership between the Connecticut Children's Medical Center and the State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, and is funded by a $50,000 grant from Allstate.
Brandon Tarascio, 16, of Wethersfield expects to get his driver's license soon and is taking part in the program.
"I crashed a couple of times and hit deer and stuff, so it prepared me for when I'm going to drive," Tarascio said.
Under the program, teens will experience all kinds of driving conditions including daytime, nighttime, rain, snow and ice -- conditions they might not experience in regular driver's education programs. They'll also experience the hazards of distracted driving, including texting while driving, and drunken driving.
"You can make an error on a simulator and suffer no adverse consequences, whereas if you make an error behind the wheel of a car, it can be fatal," said Dr. Brendan Campbell, a trauma surgeon at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
Statistics show that teens make up 6 percent of drivers in Connecticut, but they're involved in 14 percent of all fatal crashes.
CCMC is also running a study at some high schools to determine if, and how much, simulators reduce teen crashes. The study will run another year.
The Connecticut Children's Teen Driving Simulator Center will be open after school and on weekends for at least a year. It's free to teens in Connecticut who want to participate.