Students learn danagers of drinking and driving

2014-05-07T18:45:00Z 2014-05-07T22:34:17Z Students learn danagers of drinking and drivingDeborah Laverty Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 07, 2014 6:45 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | Valparaiso High School freshmen Matthew Klemm and Alec Kessler said they don't ever plan to drive while drunk.

The lessons about neither drinking nor getting into a car with someone who has been drinking have been hammered home to them both at school and from their parents.

"My mom told me that she does not want to find my body on the side of the road," said Klemm.

Klemm and Kessler were two of some 500 students who on Wednesday took part in a series of activities that brought attention to the dangers of drinking and driving and not wearing a seat belt.

The event, held in the fieldhouse, was sponsored by the school's Students Against Drunk Drivers, the Indiana State Chapter of SADD and the Valparaiso Police Department.

The activities the students took part in included driving golf carts while wearing goggles that simulate impairment, participating in a timed seat belt challenge, and experiencing a 5 mph crash while wearing a seat belt.

Sophomore Logan McKinney, who had previously been in a car accident, said the simulated crash he took part in was realistic.

"It hurt worse than when the car I was in was rear-ended," McKinney said.

A bean bag toss, first without then while wearing the impairment goggles, proved a daunting task for freshman students Georgia Wong and Noah Komoscar.

Both threw the bean bags way off the target and then couldn't pick the bags up when directed.

"Everything was unstable. ... I couldn't even stand up," Wong said.

Komoscar said his experience while wearing the goggles was similar.

"It's definitely a wakeup call not to drink and drive," Komoscar said.

Geoff Grow, a state program director for SADD, said he travels throughout the state to participate in events such as the one held in Valparaiso.

The goal of the state is to continue to reduce the number of accidents involving teens since it's the leading cause of death in that age group.

"We're educating them about making good decisions when they get behind the wheel," Grow said.

Sue Hager, adviser for Valparaiso SADD chapter, said the event is held every year usually in the spring prior to prom.

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