Illinois Wesleyan University was trying to teach their students the dangers of drinking and driving, as they brought in the drunk driving simulator from the Arrive Alive Tour. The simulator not only takes on the drinking while driving issue. It also allows participants to experience the dangers of texting while driving and driving under the influence of marijuana.
Drunk Driving Simulator
For this event, the road crew uses a high-tech simulator to produce impaired and distracted driving situations. Basically, the participants are put into these situations of “driving drunk” or texting while driving, but in a controlled environment. They are sitting behind the wheel of a full-size Jeep Patriot. They are being asked to send a text message from their own phone. During that time, the virtual reality set shows the road they are driving on. For the drunk driving simulator, the actual vehicle is put into a drunk stage, not the participant. In their headset, their vision is blurred and their response time is slower than normal. This is because the blood alcohol level is changed by the road crew.
Illinois Wesleyan Event
The Arrive Alive Tour was brought to Illinois Wesleyan University by Aarron Cook, Director of Campus Safety. He was planning for a busy day at the event also. He said he was hoping to see at least one hundred students participate in the simulation. Why the demand for college students? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Many of these incoming freshman and some sophomores fit into that age range, so the concern is justified.
25 News WEEK was able to talk to one of those students during their visit to the drunk driving simulator. Rachel McCarthy, a sophomore at IWU, said, “It’s pretty easy to be cocky and say ‘Well I’m a pretty good driver and so I’m sure I can handle it’ but then to actually see that no it does have an affect on your driving specifically can be really impactful.”
Real Life Consquences
Part of this experience is seeing the real life consequences for your actions. Even though this is done in a controlled environment, the drivers are still making decisions. Whether it’s to drive while drunk or text while behind the wheel, those choices face consequences in real life. Tori Grodi, a road crew member with the Arrive Alive Tour, said, “We do have a mock citation that we will hand the students saying all the things that they were doing from swerving to speeding to collisions to vehicular manslaughter.”