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UMFK Students Learn Firsthand the Dangers of Distracted Driving

| September 9, 2013

distracted driving from WAGM-TV on Vimeo.

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A crash course in every sense of the word. Using this virtual simulator, students at the University of Maine at Fort Kent are getting a sense of the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence. Unite International’s Arrive Alive tour makes stops at high schools and colleges all around the country, asking students to get inside a car, put goggles on, and hit the gas pedal – either with impaired vision or with a cell phone in hand. It’s the closest these students can get to a dangerous situation on the road without actually being in one – Unite International team members say it’s a lesson everyone needs to learn.

James Pratt, Team Leader for Unite International, says, “There’s a lot of fatalities – a lot of accidents caused by not only drunk driving but also texting and driving…and texting and driving is actually becoming more of an issue than drinking and driving because there’s no age of when you can text”

None of these students that got behind the wheel were successful – many crashed into other cars or even pedestrians – both of which are entirely possible and could very easily turn fatal in a real life situation.

Oliver Silva, UMFK senior said,  “I drove the vehicle while technically intoxicated….and it was quite impairing…there was a bit of an accident, I feel bad for the electronic person.”

Pratt says, “Actually a lot more than you’d think and usually if I hear them say that they’re good at it .. they may be good at it at some points but the end result is still going to be the same they’re either going to be swerving or speeding or even going below the speed limit.”

And I gave the “intoxication goggles” a try — and my result was just about as good as everyone else’s. Silva says, “I feel like I’ve learned a lot about what some of my friends might act like if they get behind the wheel…I might I might be able to give them a real world example of just how bad it is behind the wheel when you drink.”

An important lesson for these students to learn now, so they never have to learn it the hard way.

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