MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- It looks like a driving video game, but this one is meant to sharpen the skills of the Washington State Patrol.
Troopers around the state are taking turns in a driving training simulator for what they call decision-based training.
After the trooper takes their place behind the wheel, they look at series of screens that project a virtual reality environment. The instructor gives tasks, like pursue a reckless driver or follow another trooper to a scene of an accident, and the trooper must try to do it safely while dodging cars and people.
Stored in the back of a 45-foot trailer up in Marysville, the simulator can travel to each district office in the state to train the staff in that area.
Every year, troopers alternate the simulator training with the driving course training at the academy. While the simulator costs $200,000 it has its money saving advantages. The simulator training takes an hour and can be done at the district office. To train at the academy, the trooper misses a full day of work, has to travel to Olympia and sometimes stay the night.