Arrive alive simulator at Piggott

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - Every year thousands of teen age drivers are injured or killed because of drunk driving.

Many teens convince themselves that having a "buzz" is not the same as being drunk.

But Piggott High School students found out that drunk or buzzed driving can have catastrophic results.

The UNITE organizations Arrive Alive  2010 tour rolled into Piggott this morning.

Teen drivers got their chance to simulate driving under the influence. For many it was an eye opener.

Causing a fatality and going to jail. For a teen driver and family the consequences are almost unimaginable.

Senior Allison Lambert was fairly typical, she didn't do so hot in the simulator but better simulated buzzed driving than the real thing.

"To use the simulator just to experience how it really feels and understand it could delay your reactions and you could kill someone."

The simulator is a car with sensors on the gas, brake and wheel. A visor with a screen shows what the driver is doing.

Bill Taggart operates the simulator. He says the kids driving reflects only a couple of beers.

"When I put in a guy at say .081, the computer when they push the gas pedal or brake or turn the steering wheel. The computer will delay it by just a fraction of a second based on how long it would take a person with that much alcohol in their system to react."

While I was watching, no body passed including myself.

The Drivers Ed instructor David Hendrix didn't do so well either. He says it was tougher than he imagined. Sentiment echoed by student Betsy McHaffey who thought it would be like last years Drivers Ed class.

"We drove with the goggles and golf carts in Drivers Ed last year and I thought it would be easier."

Before they go out and drive the simulator car the kids spent a few minutes watching movies about kids like them who have survived drunk driver accidents. Some of the footage was quite graphic and the students showed a visible reaction.

Allison Lambert, "It will stick with you, kids have been going to class and talking about it all class period and it's really affecting the kids."

When he took his turn in the simulator,  Zach Owell had just killed someone in the simulator.

"So what do you learn from this. Don't drink and drive. Are you gonna take it to heart? Yes sir.."

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