Students at Vol State Community College got a lesson in safety on Thursday.
On the grass in the middle of the Gallatin campus, police officers set up cones on a winding road course. Students hopped in a golf cart to participate in a texting and driving simulation.
"It's our criminal justice students through service learning to get the word out to the community to understand how dangerous this is," said Professor James Brown. "The problem is getting people convinced not to do it."
One after another, students had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the golf cart, grab their phones and send a text message to someone as they drove.
One after another, the students hit the cones.
"It was really hard. I guarantee I'm not going to do it when I'm driving for real. I mean I probably ran over 30 people and I'll get 50 years in prison for what I did right there," Student Adam Nahler said
"One minute I'm texting and the next I'm running over a cone," added student Avery Hovey.
Gallatin Police Chief Don Bandy told Nashville's News 2 that the simulation experience is good for students to reinforce what they have heard their whole life- texting and driving is dangerous.
"[Texting and driving] causes a lot of accidents, rear end accidents, running stop signs, running red lights" Bandy said.
"When you're looking down, you're not looking at the vehicle in front of you you're not paying attention to your speed and more than likely there's a better chance there's going to be accident."
Studies suggest texting while driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk.
"A drunk driver will at least try to stay on the road. When you're texting and driving you're taking your eyes off the road. You're not paying attention and depending on your speed you can travel hundreds of feet before you look back at the road," Brown said.
The Gallatin Police Department conducts simulations several times each month at area schools.