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South Callaway students experience distracted driving safely

by Adam Reider | March 23, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Adam Reider/Fulton Sun Melanie Figueroa (right) instructs Kinrnn Thornton (left) how to put on virtual reality equipment to begin the demonstration. The goal of Arrive Alive is to show students the dangers of distracted driving.

The Arrive Alive Tour taught students at South Callaway High School the dangers of distracted driving while providing them a safe environment to experience it first hand with the aid of a driving simulator.

Arrive Alive is an organization that provides education programs to students that are intended to heighten awareness of the dangers and consequences of drunken driving, distracted driving and texting while driving.

The distracted driving experience was safe.

Students boarded a parked car that couldn't operate while under testing conditions. A supervisor was on hand to ensure the equipment wouldn't break.

The simulator offered several simulations. Students had multiple experiences to choose from, but each selected the drunken driving simulation over texting while driving and talking with friends while driving.

The simulator tested students' senses of touch, vision and sound while they attempted to drive to a destination, in a virtual 45 mph zone. Most of them failed to reach the destination, a handful made it going 10 mph and all of them received fake traffic tickets.

"Most kids treat it like a video game... you get the full effects -- gas, breaks and steering," said Shaquille Hill, a supervisor with four years of experience.

The simulator is wired to be responsive to a multitude of driving distracted feelings.

Since everyone chose the drunken driving simulation, the feelings replicated that experience.

The movements of the wheel were delayed and tracked by pressure plates under the front wheels. The sights of traffic had a drunken-replicated fuzziness and were projected to a screen so that onlookers could see what was under the virtual reality goggles. The sounds of the traffic seemed normal. Onlooker could also hear exactly what the participants were hearing as they went through the zone.

Hill said the Arrive Alive Tour is a national program that is customized to fit all age groups. Hill said the experiences are relative to the person undergoing them. He also mentioned that all adults and children seem to have fun while some take it more seriously.

One student, Sage Turner, who joked that he wished he had insurance after a near fatal wreck, said, " a real world experience there, I would've been seriously hurt... it's something to think about."

According to the Arrive Alive Tour, in Missouri there were 81 fatal distracted driving crashes during 2020; anything that takes your eyes or extremities away from operating your vehicle is considered distracted driving.

Thirteen percent of fatal crashes in Missouri involved some form of distracted driving from 2017 to 2019.

Print Headline: South Callaway students experience distracted driving safely


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