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Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Hosts Annual Open House - abc27 WHTM

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Hosts Annual Open House

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Blacksburg, VA - Some area students got to get out of the classroom Thursday to visit Virginia Tech's high tech transportation institute.

They were invited to the facility as part of VTTI's annual open house, that also served as a good life lesson for those students.

In all, 400 students from third to twelfth grade were on hand throughout the morning. The tour included a number of stops that gave students an idea of the research that goes on, including experiments that use replicated weather conditions like rain and fog.

But some of the most applied research the institute does involves thousands of car hours monitoring people to learn more about distracted driving, a lesson that most would agree can't be emphasized enough to children of all ages.

"We're all involved in our community and it's only going to help it more if we are all aware and learning at an early age," said Beth Hartsock who teaches 6th grade at Auburn Middle School.

VTTI Researcher Stacy Payne agrees.

"It starts young. Small people get to watch their parents drive and they are little imitators. Thy grow up and imitate their parents," she said.

Distracted driving is a major problem out there on the nation's highways.

The latest stats on file with the CDC show that more than 3,300 people were killed - and another 387,000 people injured - due to distracted driving in 2011 alone.

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