Putting a stop to distracted driving

ICC brings awareness to drunk and distracted driving.
Apr. 04, 2014 @ 04:40 AM

Students took the pledge to stop texting and driving while learning about the risks of alcohol during Isothermal Community College's (ICC) annual Alcohol Awareness and Safe Driving Program on Thursday. The goal of the day is to educate students of the dangers of impaired or distracted driving. The event was sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA).

"There have been accidents throughout the year with young adults not wearing seat belts as well as drunk driving," Patricia Robinson, SGA president, said. "We want to raise awareness because it's a serious problem."

From 11- 2 p.m. students received information on alcohol and alcoholism, took a pledge to stop texting and driving and took an anonymous alcohol screening survey. After the survey, if the students were identified as at-risk for alcohol problems, counselors were on hand to speak with them.

"It is the biggest risk in this age group. Almost all deaths for people 18 through 34 are somehow alcohol or drug-related," Jeff Wells, a counselor at Lifeline Counseling said. "This makes them aware. Knowledge is power."

Kimberly Snyder, Learn Support and Retention counselor, arranged for Wells and other counselors to attend.

"They are experts in the field. When someone is identified as having risky drinking behavior, it's good to have them on hand to talk to," Snyder said. "Last year we had so many accidents with students not wearing seat belts and drinking. We hope we can prevent that by raising awareness."

Students who completed the survey were allowed to participate in the drunk driving simulation where they navigated their way around orange cones on golf carts while wearing goggles. The goggles are manipulated to make the driver feel like they are driving while drunk. The students had several different pairs of goggles to choose from and each pair represented a different level of blood alcohol content.

They could also do the seat belt convincer which allowed them to feel the impact of being hit by a car going 5-7 mph.

"I've enjoyed showing people how important it is to wear their seat belts," McKenzie Rice, criminal justice student, said. "We want to keep them from getting hurt and thrown out of a windshield."

While working the seat belt convincer, criminal justice student Glenesa Causby shared her own experience of being rear-ended.

"Several years ago in South Carolina I was stopped at a stoplight and got rear-ended by a guy running 75 mph. If it hadn't been for the seat belts my children wouldn't be here today," Causby said. "I make my kids wear seat belts regularly. If you are going five or 55 mph, you should wear it regardless."