Calhoun High School student Alicia Abramson said she had to concentrate intently and even close one eye to complete a seemingly easy task — stacking cups. The catch was that she was wearing vision impairment goggles to simulate being intoxicated.
“I couldn’t imagine being mentally impaired as well as visually,” she commented after completing the task.
The simulation was part of a nationwide program, Arrive Alive, which promotes awareness about distracted and drunken driving. It was hosted by the Community Parent Center. Completing the timed fine motor skill game of Perfection, walking a straight line, operating pedal cars and a driving video game enables students to fully experience the potential consequences of making destructive decisions.
“I don’t even know what is going on right now,” said senior Mike Losak as he steered his video game car into a wall while attempting to avoid a pedestrian.
Losak was wearing “beer goggles” to impair his vision.
Sophomore Nicole MacLaren said she “lost her balance a lot quicker” than she thought she would while wearing the beer goggles to simply walk a straight chalk line.
Max Vandewater, a safety ambassador from the Arrive Alive program, reminded students that even though they may consider themselves skilled at driving and texting or drunken driving, they are “sharing the road with someone who is texting and driving constantly.”
“If your eyes leave the road for one second, you could lose your life,” he added. “And every school we visit, we hear a new story about someone who knew someone who did lose their life.”
Wendy Tepfer, director of CPC, said she equates distracted driving to driving while intoxicated.
“One in three teens will have a crash within their first year of driving,” she said. “And when alcohol is involved, one-third of those crashes result in fatalities.”
The program will visit Mepham and Kennedy high schools in the spring.