Getting behind the wheel drunk and trying to drive is a dangerous and sometimes life-altering experience. The Student Activities Board (SAB), along with Delta Zeta, had a full-sized Nascar drunken driving simulator at the Hindsman Quad on October 22 to give students an opportunity to “drive drunk”.
“The goggles make it so it simulates drunk driving,” said Hunter Brown, junior broadcast major from Cove. “It looks like it crosses your vision. You have to drive through the cones and see if you can make it through. I did fine; I bumped into one [cone]. I can’t imagine being drunk and driving.”
The types of goggles used are known as Fatal Vision Impairment Goggles, which use a special lens technology that allows the wearer to experience a realistic simulation of impairment. Participants experience how alcohol impairs a person’s balance, vision, reaction time and judgment.
“The Drunk Driving Simulator that SAB hosts every year [is meant] to bring a fun and engaging activity that also educates our campus on alcohol awareness, since October is National Alcohol Awareness Month,” SAB president Suede Graham said. “I feel that this event gives students the chance to learn about an issue that is really relevant in our society today.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 123 drunken driving fatalities occurred last year in Arkansas, which was 25.5 percent of all traffic deaths for that year.
Of those 123 driving fatalities, 16 were from people under the legal drinking age, 95 were drivers with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or higher (.08 declares a person legally drunk) and 93.3 percent were repeat offenders. The rate of drunken driving is the highest among 21 to 25 year olds—23.4 percent.
Although there were 8,628 drunken driving arrests last year, this is a 14.6 percent decrease from the previous year. Since 2006, the number of drunken driving fatalities has been decreasing every year at a steady pace, from 13,491 in 2006 to 10,076 in 2013. Even with the decrease in fatalities, 28 people still die as a result of drunken driving accidents each day.
“We hope that this event is engaging to students but also makes them think about the repercussions of alcohol, and if they do decide [to] drink, then they should do so in a responsible manner,” Graham said. “We had about 200 students show up and participate in the event.”
SAB holds this event annually to help educate Tech students on the dangers involved with drunken driving. For more information on SAB, go online to www.atu. edu/sab or contact Jenny Butler, assistant director of Campus Life, at 479-968-0235.