Impaired Driving Simulator: Virtual Reality Simulation At William Penn University

The students at William Penn University used virtual reality to help guide them through the impaired driving simulator from the Arrive Alive Tour. DUI prevention is not the only goal of the Arrive Alive Tour. They are trying to teach the dangers of drunk driving, as well as texting while driving and driving under the influence of marijuana.

Impaired driving simulator - Arrive Alive Tour - William Penn University

Arrive Alive Tour

For the tour, the company travels throughout the country. There are three different simulators that makes stops at high schools, colleges and corporations. Each tour has a set of road crew facilitators to help make sure the event goes smoothly. Jeff Bateman, a road crew facilitator with Arrive Alive Tour, said, “We have three tours going on. We travel all over the United States, educating people on the importance of driving sober and free of electronics.”

Impaired Driving Simulator

At William Penn University, the facilitators parked the full-size Jeep Patriot in the Penn Activity Center. The students were able to get behind the wheel and put on a pair of virtual reality goggles. They would then be put in a simulation where the vehicle is “drunk” and not them. The simulation gives the effect of being drunk, as they have slower reaction times and blurred vision.

These simulations are not easy. Bateman said, “It depends on the simulation, depends on the age group, obviously. Younger kids like to go fast and crazy, some people really want to actually take their time and try. It’s hard. It’s not easy when you have a blood alcohol content of .11, it is difficult to drive. Anything over a .08 in the state of Iowa is considered a DUI. Still, I think you see people struggling with a .08.”

Driving Dangers

The impaired driving simulator is so important, as it helps to prevent accidents. The number one cause of teen deaths is accidents. He added, “Twenty-nine people a day in the United States die from drinking and driving; 19 of them on top of the 29 is from distracted driving. That’s an overall statistic, not just generally toward teens. But accidents are the number one cause of death for teens.”

Besides driving in the simulation, the students are also given the facts. Bateman added, “The simulator’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s unique, but it’s really the statistics that get people. For your first DUI here, you can lose your license for up to 180 days. For your third DUI, it is considered a class D felony.” There are fees attached with each penalty too. Bateman said, “They say the average fee is $10,000. And that’s just the stuff that personally happens to you, not mentioning the stuff that happens to other people. You really affect other people’s lives by doing the things that you do. Every action causes a reaction.”