Calgary police and Ford have joined together to put on a clinic for high school students that highlights the dangers of distracted driving.

The clinic got underway on Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Henry Wise Wood High School.

A road course was set up with a number of pylons and students were asked to drive a vehicle through the course while doing a number of other things.

“We’re targeting high school students and their parents. National statistics showed that more teens are doing it, distracted driving, than parents but Alberta, more parents are doing it than teens so I think that you need to kind of show parents that they’re leading by example and their kids are watching what they’re doing and open up the communication between kids and their parents,” said Travis Ringguth commercial account manager at Universal Ford.

Ford provided the vehicles so the teens could navigate through the course.

The drivers were also texting and answering questions from the passenger while loud music was blasted from the stereo.

“It’s a really neat opportunity to take a controlled environment and put people in a distracted driving event and say hey, this is very slow, this is very controlled, watch what happens. So now let’s multiply that by five or ten times when you’re doing 50, 60, 100, 120 kilometres an hour, and I’ve seen people driving, 120 kilometres an hour, texting their way up Deerfoot Trail, you may as well shut your eyes,” said CPS Constable Jim Lebedeff from the Traffic Education Unit.

As predicted, the drivers were unable to concentrate and the crushed pylons that were left behind showed the results of multi-tasking behind the wheel.

“I know everybody is busy and their vehicles are their offices away from the office, and I understand that, it’s a busy world we live in, but if you are operating your motor vehicle, you have to take that text, or you have to take that phone call, pull off the road, pull into a parking lot, do it safely and then carry on your merry way,” said Lebedeff.

Lebedeff says it’s bad enough when road conditions are good but now that winter is here it is even more dangerous. “It’s slippery, it’s icy, it’s snowy, things can happen in a heartbeat. We have the old black ice here, so if you’re operating your motor vehicle and distracted and something happens, we don’t want you to get hurt, die, kill somebody else on our highways and that’s the bigger picture.”

Some of the grade 12 students also had the opportunity to wear goggles that police use to simulate a road test for an impaired driver.

The goggles enable the wearer to see what the road looks like at twice the legal limit.

For most it was a challenge to even walk a straight line and provide their licence information to the officer conducting the test.

Lebedeff says the fine for distracted driving is $172 and people are still not getting the message.

“I was in my marked police vehicle the other week, I was right beside this guy, and he’s holding his cell phone and I’m right beside him and I pulled him over and his excuse was I’m sending a text-o-gram, I’m talking,” said Lebedeff. “So a lot of people know what they’re doing and they’re still doing it, that’s the scary part.”

In 2012, police wrote 6558 summons for distracted driving and so far this year officers have already issued 5378.

(With files from Kevin Fleming)