Harbor Beach Students Learn Lessons For Safer Driving

Jacob Butterfield takes his turn wearing the goggles.
Jacob Butterfield takes his turn wearing the goggles.

HARBOR BEACH — Harbor Beach High School has taken a step toward helping students arrive alive. The school recently hosted a program — the Arrive Alive Tour — to help students understand the risks of driving while texting or drinking alcohol.

Students were able to drive a simulator attached to an immobilized auto while fitted with goggles wired to a computer system. It allowed them to experience the visual sensation of driving while texting. They also were able to simulate the effects of being impaired with alcohol.

“It’s good to learn about texting and driving. It’s so popular these days,” said Rachel Peterson, one of the students who drove in the simulator.

“It was hard to control the car and keep it on the road,” said Jacilyn Geiger, another student who drove in the simulator. “It was weird. I thought it would be easier than it was.”

“It was very realistic,” said Micaela Razo. “It really opens your eyes to all the dangers out there.”

Other students who were not driving were able to watch the students in the simulator on a 32-inch screen.

The program also included a 45-minute video playing continuously to those waiting for their simulated ride. It allowed students to see the consequences of distracted/drunken driving. The video showed accident scenes, patients in emergency rooms, grieving family members discussing the loss of a loved one and a surgery to relieve pressure on an accident victim’s brain.

There also was a video of a young man speaking to a high school audience about a fatal auto accident that he caused. He asked students to learn from his mistakes.

After driving the simulator, each student was given the opportunity to go to a pledge station where they could dedicate their life to never drive drunk or distracted.

They also received ficticious traffic citations for either driving under the influence of alcohol or driving distracted. Students could be photographed and have their photo imprinted upon a keepsake keychain. The keychain had a reminder of their pledge, “I pledge to drive S.A.F.E. (Sober and Free of Electronics).”

All Harbor Beach High School students were allowed to participate — and 248 did.

“Ninth graders are at an impressionable age. Tenth to 12th graders are in the process of getting or having driver’s licenses,” said school Curriculum Coordinator Shelley Boehmer, who helped bring the program to Harbor Beach.

The program cost $2,500. The majority of that fee was paid by Casey Jahn Farm Bureau Insurance Agency of Ubly, with the Harbor Beach Police Department paying the rest.