The raceway in Sonoma, in partnership with St. Joseph Health of Sonoma County, Farmers Insurance and the California Highway Patrol, will host a hands-on driving simulation event to illustrate the dangers of distracted driving (e.g. driving while texting and other risky behaviors behind the wheel) on area roadways.

In 2010, 3,092 people were killed, and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Education and awareness are needed to combat these alarming statistics.

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 10:45 a.m 

The raceway in Sonoma, Highways 37 & 121, Sonoma, Calif.

Instructors from the Simraceway Performance Driving Center will put participants through a number of behind-the-wheel challenges, including lane-change drills and timed maneuvers. Participants will complete the drills both while distracted and also focused. Distractions will include texting, opening a bottle of water, changing the radio, etc. Instructors will grade the participants on their ability to navigate the simple tests and rate how the distractions impaired their driving. Results will be shared with participants following the exercise.

The raceway will team with St. Joseph Health of Sonoma County, Farmers Insurance, the CHP and the Simraceway Performance Driving Center on this event.

St. Joseph Health of Sonoma County, through Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, supplies the raceway with physicians at its major events during the motor-racing season, including NASCAR, NHRA drag racing and INDYCAR. Doctors Brian Schmidt and Ed West work out of the track-based St. Joseph Health Medical Center and assist on all on-track related incidents, as well as some off-track related incidents. St. Joseph Health of Sonoma County and Santa Rosa Memorial, as a leader in injury prevention education in the North Bay, is a partner of the raceway in Sonoma.


Marin Catholic High School (Kentfield)

  • CJ Lyons
  • Natalia Wallace

Rincon Valley Christian School (Santa Rosa)

  • Zach Deornellas

Sonoma State University

  • Bernadette Butkiewics

Mesa Verde High School (Citrus Heights)

  • William Afanaseff, Wil Chavez, Jared Cambridge, Ashley Hovorka


  • In 2010, 11-percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash (NHTSA). This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37-percent. (Carnegie Mellon).
  • You are 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving (NHTSA).
  • 18-percent of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes (NHTSA).

NOTE: Participants are limited to those listed in this advisory. The raceway will not accept walk-up participants at the event. However, the public can come out and watch the event.