DUI simulation a ‘wake-up call’ for area students

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: April 10, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

SURRY – Surry County High School students learned just how difficult – and dangerous – trying to drive while intoxicated can be on March 25 when  the Virginia State Police Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) sponsored a special, hands-on DUI simulation at the school.   

According to assistant principal Courtney Ward, state troopers Walden and Longs, with the help of school resource officer Deputy Johns, first explained to the health and physical education classes how important it is to choose to remain sober before driving. They shared some of the behaviors that they look for while on patrol to indicate intoxicated drivers, like driving too fast, driving too slowly, swerving, not wearing a seat belt and constantly tapping the brakes. 

Surry High student Micheal Townsend drives a simulation car over a cone during MADD DUI simulation while Senior Trooper Long assists

Ward said they took the students outside and, with the help of special goggles, put them through a simulation that mimicked DUI traits to let the kids see for themselves just how difficult and deadly the combination of drinking and driving can be.   When they donned the goggles and were told to perform specific driving-related – or DUI test situations – like walking a straight line and then turning and walking back – the students soon realized that it was impossible to do so without constantly checking balance.

After the simulated walk, Ward said, the students had the opportunity to try to drive a golf cart around an obstacle course wearing the DUI goggles and were quite surprised to learn that it was nearly impossible even to fasten their safety belts wearing the impairment goggles. Time after time they ran over the cone course-markers as they attempted to maneuver the cart around the course.  A subsequent chance to drive a similar cone obstacle course without DUI goggles graphically demonstrated just how easy the task actually was when they were sober.

Afterward, Ward remarked, “Although they students appeared to have fun during this activity, they soon realized the educational value of not drinking and driving.”

Assistant school superintendent Serbrenia Sims added, “It was great, and we really appreciate this special activity by MADD and law enforcement.  We always encourage hands-on learning in Surry Schools, and with this DUI simulation, being totally engaged in the activity brought home the lesson more forcefully than any lecture could have. Now, while they may have thought that they would be in control and safe drinking and driving, they’re more likely to remember in the future that the reality is an entirely different story.”  

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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