This archived article was written by: Tadd Mecham
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be drunk or high behind the wheel of a car? Have you ever experienced just how impaired someone can be when driving under the influence?
On Wednesday, October 13, students were given the chance to participate in a drunk-driving simulator.
During the simulation, students were first given a chance to chat and drink a few root beers. When their name was called, the student would be fitted with “beer goggles” which distort vision.
USU-CEU Security Officer James Prettyman would have the student walk to the driver’s side of a two-passenger ATV, get inside and buckle up.
After explaining to the student that they must not exceed five miles an hour, they were required to weave in and out of a row of cones, donated for use by U.D.O.T. Few students made it through without causing a number of cones to be knocked over or crushed.
At the end of the simulation, the students were required to come to a halt in front of a cardboard cutout named “Officer Friendly.”
Every student who participated-had a lot of laughs and even a few screams. Each person came off of the obstacle course with not only a smile on their face but a realization of how hard it would be to drive drunk and how stupid it would be to do so.
Almost every student who passed by took time to participate. They would even encourage their friends to have a go at the simulator. This made for a successful activity with a good turnout.
The drunk driving simulator was sponsored through collaboration between the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) Program, campus police, Student Conduct Officer John Haky and residential life. This activity was set up in order to give a look at the real risk of drunk driving.
Tammie Pantelakis, USU-CEU’s Prevention Specialist, has already had eight students sent to her for drinking on campus. Pantelakis was pleased by how many students participated this activity.
Officer Prettyman offered a few words about the recent numbers of drunk driving on campus, “In the past we’ve had about 3 drunk drivers a weekend on campus, but currently we don’t have the manpower to do trafficking. We leave that to the city police.”
Although there have been many activities in which students have had the opportunity to wear the “beer goggles,” this is the first time students have had the chance to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and try an obstacle course.
The simulation was very successful in both the number of students that participated and the point it had intended to get across. It was apparent that the students wanted to learn, and what better way to do it than from experience in a completely safe environment?
This simulation showed the extreme dangers of driving drunk and just how stupid of a move it is to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. It also showed that if someone is driving drunk in real life, the things they will hit are probably not going to be limited to cones.