Nearly one-third of all traffic deaths involve alcohol-impaired drivers, according to a company that uses simulators to raise awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence or while distracted.
In 2014, the highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes were in the age range of 21 to 24, according the company that will be in New Carlisle today,
That’s why Tecumseh High School is encouraging students to participate in a campaign to spread awareness about driving while impaired or distracted.
UNITE’s Arrive Alive Tour which comes to the school Monday uses a virtual reality simulator to recreate the effects of impaired or distracted driving - all in the safety of a stationary vehicle.
“It really shows what it’s actually like to drive while intoxicated, distracted, or otherwise impaired,” said Matt Luther, director of marketing and public relations with UNITE.
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UNITE’s simulation uses technology which displays the impaired/distracted driver’s perspective to both the participant and observers outside the vehicle. The vehicle’s wheels, gas, and brakes are disabled during the simulation.
Last Fall, the company added a component to its program which simulates driving under the influence of marijuana, which Luther said was much needed.
“As more and more states are legalizing recreational use, that is becoming more of an issue - so that’s something we really wanted to add to the program. It has gotten a really great response so far.”
After students complete the simulation, they are issued a mock citation which explains the actual ramifications of impaired or distracted driving, Luther said.
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Paula Crews, superintendent at Tecumseh Local Schools said she hopes the program will act as a deterrent to unsafe driving practices.
“Every time our students get behind the wheel of a car, we want them to remember the day that they went through this simulator and what it looked like and what happened,” Crews said.
“This event is extremely important because as a district, it’s going to allow us to be proactive and try to prevent any future students from driving either under the influence or using their phone and texting or answering calls,” said Paula Crew, superintendent at Tecumseh Local Schools.