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Simulator gives students a taste of drunken driving

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
December 7, 2007
— One Milton High School student drove into a building. Another crisscrossed the centerline, and yet another took out a motorcycle.

All were at the controls of a simulator that makes students feel as if they are driving while intoxicated.


The driver starts out sober, but the controls are adjusted every 30 seconds so the student feels increasingly intoxicated, said Jeanne Hergert, a Milton teacher who is co-advisor of Students Against Destructive Decisions. The driver begins to feel as if he or she is losing control of the car and the road. Focus becomes blurred.


Several students said they felt dizzy after finishing.


The “Save a Life” tour from Edu-tainment by Kramer, a Michigan company, was brought to Milton on Thursday by SADD, previously Students Against Drunken Driving.


“It was crazy,” said Tasha Randall, 17, who crashed into a building. “I thought I was under control, and I wasn’t … I was swerving all over the place.”


Randall said she’d never drink and drive.


“Never, especially now,” she said.


Sarah Weir, 16, co-president of SADD, was equally impressed by the experience.


Many people don’t know how big of an effect alcohol can have, she said.


When they have been drinking, they think: “I’ll be fine,” she added.


“It was really eye-opening.”


Her stint at the controls ended when a cop pulled her over, and she ran into a pole.


The morning started with a graphic presentation about the destruction caused by drunken drivers, Hergert said. Bryan Moffatt, 22, a Kramer employee, told how he gave his car keys to his best friend while they were partying so his friend could go for food. The friend died in a drunken driving accident.


After the presentation, students reported to the gym, where big screens showed the ongoing simulations. Viewers could watch the vehicles weave between lanes, crash into buildings or stop at green lights. Photos of people who died in drunken driving accidents flashed on another screen.


Brittani Williams, 17, said she believes the simulation showed her what it would feel like to drive drunk.


“I made it for about two minutes and crashed into a dump truck or something,” she said.


“I felt dizzy. Everything was coming at once.”


Deana Ziemendorf, 17, flattened a motorcycle.


“It was kind of like in a dream. You don’t have any control.


“If that’s really how it is, it would make me decide not to drive when I’m like that,” she said.



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