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Teens urged to “Arrive Alive”

 

The “Arrive Alive” tour gave Cedar Springs High School students a chance to see what could happen when they drive while texting or drive impaired. Post photo by J. Reed.

The “Arrive Alive” tour gave Cedar Springs High School students a chance to see what could happen when they drive while texting or drive impaired. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Sophomore Devin Swatzell tests out the “Arrive Alive” simulation for drinking and driving. Post photo by J. Reed.

Sophomore Devin Swatzell tests out the “Arrive Alive” simulation for drinking and driving. Post photo by J. Reed.

Teens at Cedar Springs High School got the chance last week to get behind the wheel of a truck and see what dangers lurk for those who chance driving drunk or try to text while driving.UNITE’s “Arrive Alive” tour came to the Cedar Springs campus on Friday, October 21. The program uses a high-tech high-tech simulator, impact video, and a number of other resources to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and intoxicated driving. The simulator allows participants to experience the potential consequences of impaired and distracted driving in a controlled environment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Aministration, drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.

The teens first watched a video that showed teens texting and driving and fatal accidents that result. They then could try the simulator outside. Teens were asked whether they wanted to try driving drunk or while texting. They then climbed in the truck and put on virtual reality goggles. The truck never moved; instead the goggles simulated them driving. If they chose drunk driving, they would get tunnel vision, with things going dark around them, so they wouldn’t be able to see the course as clearly, and their steering wheel would be delayed, not turn as well, since reflexes are slowed when driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If they chose texting and driving, the student would use their own phone and look at while trying to drive an obstacle course on the simulator. There would be red lights, people would pop up here and there, or try to cross the street at intersections.

Sophomore Devin Swatzell tried the drinking and driving course. “It was fun but it was hard,” he said. “I’ll still never drink and drive.” Swatzell said he could see how the simulator could help be a deterrent students.

The program was brought to the high school by the Car Center-Cedar Springs, who bought Cedar Body Shop, on White Creek Avenue, just south of 17 Mile Rd. “We thought it would be a great program to bring to local schools to show our concern for any type of distracted driving,” said Sylvia Edwards, of the Car Center. “Being new to the community, we thought it was something good to show what we stand for, what we are concerned about.”

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