Driving simulator encourages safe driving habits in DHS students

DHS senior Anna Cline "drives" a test vehicle while wearing goggles that simulate drunken driving during the Arrive Alive safe driving event at De Soto High School on Thursday, Sept. 15. "It seemed pretty real and while I already don't drink and drive or text and drive this really showed me why it's so dangerous," she said.

DHS senior Anna Cline "drives" a test vehicle while wearing goggles that simulate drunken driving during the Arrive Alive safe driving event at De Soto High School on Thursday, Sept. 15. "It seemed pretty real and while I already don't drink and drive or text and drive this really showed me why it's so dangerous," she said. by Laura Herring

Excessive swerving. Driving below the posted speed limit. Driving on the wrong side of the road. Failing to stop at a red light. Hitting a parked vehicle. Driving under the influence of alcohol. Driving while texting.

Students and faculty at De Soto High School received "tickets" for all of these violations this morning after "driving" the Arrive Alive simulator vehicle.

"It seemed pretty real and while I already don't drink and drive or text and drive this really showed me why it's so dangerous," said DHS senior Anna Cline.

The simulator, which will be operating at DHS all day today and all day tomorrow at Mill Valley High School, was paid for by a grant from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and was planned to coincide with homecoming next week.

"The hope is that this exercise will give students a realistic view of what happens when they drive distracted in any way, drinking or texting," said DHS Principal Dave Morford, who drove the simulator himself. "I think everyone should take the opportunity to participate in an exercise like this, not just students but anyone who gets behind the wheel."

While the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in the state of Kansas is 0.08, or less than one tenth of a percent, Arrive Alive technician Andrew Rogers varies the drivers' BACs anywhere from .077 to 0.1 or more.

"For the most part everyone who gets behind our wheel takes it seriously and tries really hard to obey the law," Rogers said. "I find a lot of people are surprised by how poorly they did or how big the difference between the sober drive and the 'drunk' drive really is."

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