Students of Scarsdale High School were given the opportunity to experience the effects of drunk driving first hand through the use of a “drunk driving simulator” on May 2nd. Sponsored by the Scarsdale Task Force on Drugs and Alcohol, the driving simulator enabled Scarsdale students to experience driving under the influence of varying amounts of alcohol.
To start the process, each student started driving the simulator without any alcohol content. The students were told to acknowledge the speed limit and drive safely, which most kids did without a problem. Progressively, the simulator then exhibited the effects of driving with the legal alcohol limit to drive, .08 blood alcohol content (BAC). Even driving with the legal BAC, students found it detrimental to their driving abilities as Nicole Zucker said, “All my abilities to drive were impaired, especially my vision and judgment. I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like driving with more alcohol in my system.” Students would later find out what it would feel like as the simulator displayed the effects of driving with an illegal BAC. As students attempted to drive with illegal alcohol levels, their ability to drive safely was completely compromised as they could no longer adhere to the speed limit, stay on the right side of the road, or prevent a collision with oncoming traffic.
Drinking and driving is a significant problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one of three of those is alcohol related. The NHTSA also reports that one in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime. Hopefully the simulator helped imprint in the students’ minds that driving while under the influence can be life threatening.
“Kids who tried the drunk driving simulator were powerfully affected,” said Joy Brownstein, co-chair Scarsdale Task Force on Drugs and Alcohol. “We are thankful to the Westchester County Police Department for providing us with this important educational tool.”
This article was written by SHS ninth grader Jonny Dorf who is a few years away from getting his driver's license.