Whitehall-Yearling High School students are learning to become better drivers with the help of a distracted-driving simulator donated to the city of Whitehall by the Maria Tiberi Foundation.

Whitehall-Yearling High School students are learning to become better drivers with the help of a distracted-driving simulator donated to the city of Whitehall by the Maria Tiberi Foundation.

Maria Elizabeth Tiberi, 21, of Dublin, the daughter of WBNS-10TV sports anchor Dom Tiberi, was killed Sept. 17, 2013, when the vehicle she was driving struck the back of a semitrailer stopped on Interstate 270 South in Hilliard.

Hilliard police said "a momentary lapse of attention or an unknown distraction was the probable cause of the accident."

Dom Tiberi later founded Maria's Message to help make young drivers aware of the danger of distracted driving.

"Tiberi approached (Police) Chief (Richard) Zitzke and asked if we were interested (in receiving the simulator), and we of course were," said Gail Martineau, public affairs coordinator for Whitehall.

In turn, Zitzke suggested to Whitehall City School District Superintendent Brian Hamler that Whitehall-Yearling High School was the best site to reach the largest number of its target users, Martineau said.

The simulator was placed in the school's cafeteria Oct. 9.

"It has been well-received," said Carl Svagerko, principal of Whitehall-Yearling High School.

"We don't leave it on all day long, but have it up and running at lunchtime and at other times on occasion," he said.

"Everyone wants a try at it."

Whitehall senior Brandon Copley, 17, said the simulator has taught him to be more aware behind the wheel.

Copley received his license about four months ago and said he drives every day.

"(The simulator) shows you all the things that can happen around you (inside a car) and how quickly things (outside the car) can happen (when) you're not looking," Copley said.

Svagerko said the simulator is serving its purpose.

"It's bringing a new level of awareness to our kids," he said.

Most students know not to text and drive, he said, but now they are learning that eating while driving also is a distraction.

"They are learning that distraction isn't just texting," Svagerko said.

It has not yet been determined whether the simulator will be incorporated into any curriculum, Hamler said.

The school does not offer a driver's-education class.