Students test new driving impaired simulator

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL-TV) – Dozens of local high school students got to see how driving impaired affects their classmates first hand today.

Several classes of students at Dobyns-Bennett High School got to test a new simulator that shows them how trying to drive would be effected by alcohol by having them drive a pedal powered go cart thru a slalom cone course on the school’s driver’s education driving range.

The course was set up in three segments. The first segment had the students maneuvering thru the slalom course without goggles. The second segment had the students wearing goggles that simulated a blood alcohol level of .08 to .15, barely over the legal limit. The final segment had the students wearing goggles that simulated a blood alcohol level of .15 to .25, considered very drunk, and trying to walk a straight line on the ground heel-to-toe style.

“Whenever we put on the goggles where we were impaired, it showed you’re seeing double and it shows how easy you can hit something.”, explains D-B sophomore Austin Weaver, “It was very difficult, you seem like you are going faster, you see double and you think you’re going one way but you’re going the other. It’s a scary thing, definitely kids our age and anybody should not be drunk while driving.”

The carts and goggles being used were recently purchased from Drunk Busters of America, LLC using monies from Holston Valley Medical Center’s Testerman Injury Prevention Fund initiated by local Trauma Surgeon, Dr. George Testerman. Dr. Testerman developed this fund after all-too-often witnessing first-hand in the emergency room the aftermath of D.U.I. related motor vehicle collisions.

“It shows them how impaired they can be if they are under the influence of alcohol and how hard it is to operate a vehicle safely while they are under the influence and that’s why we’re here is to try to make an impression on them how dangerous it is to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”, says Holston Valley Trauma Surgeon Dr. George Testerman, “We see the end results of driving under the influence after people are already injured or after maybe they’ve lost their lives and so we’re here to try to stress the importance of driving safely and using safe behavior and not driving under the influence.”

The students seemed really receptive to the course and enjoyed seeing their classmates try to maneuver the course and Testerman hopes this course can be taken to other high schools in the region later this year.

“It seems to be very positive, I think the kids are understanding the significance and the gravity of the situation while at the same time they’re having a little bit of fun.”, Testerman added, “If we can prevent one accident or certainly one death in a kid, then we think that we’ve accomplished our goals here.”

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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