Wednesday, June 19, 2024



Even the federal employees at the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center get a Traffic Safety Awareness Day, which might sound like a drag. But they get a better one than most, and they’re inviting Cambridge residents to take part.

Why better? Because they have those wonderful toys. Come to this driving safety fair and you basically get an excuse to play video games and observe violence in the name of education:

bullet-gray-smallArbella’s Distractology 101 trailer: The Quincy-based Arbella Insurance Foundation is bringing the 36-foot neon yellow bus it’s equipped with high-tech simulators teaching the dangers of distracted driving.

bullet-gray-smallMassachusetts State Police Rollover Simulator: Used to show what happens if people aren’t wearing seat belts when a car rolls over.

bullet-gray-smallThe Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab AwareCar: Used to evaluate drivers’ physiological and psychological state while driving for everything from hands-free phone use to “changes in workload, arousal and stress with age.” (Arousal?)

bullet-gray-smallThe PEER Awareness DUI Simulator: Emulates driving conditions to teach about the effects of drinking on driving safety.

The Volpe Center will also be showing off its Unintended Acceleration Project, which sounds terrifying.

Of course it’s won’t all be fun and games and “Red Asphalt III.” In addition to the simulators and games there will be sober speeches (literally – state police are also bringing their BAT Mobile Breath Alcohol Testing unit, which is used at roadside sobriety checkpoints) by Robert C. Johns, associate administrator and director at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center; Michael Geraci, regional administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Maggi Gunnels, associate administrator for regional operations and program delivery at the administration; and Mary McGuire, director of public and legislative affairs for AAA Southern New England.

“Even DOT employees can benefit from learning about driving dangers and safe driving practices,” said Lucy Muscarella, an Arbella publicist, in a press release.

Indeed. The Traffic Safety Awareness Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at 55 Broadway, Kendall Square,  in the parking lot at the corner of Broadway and Third Street.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.