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Penn State Schuylkill Students Experience Distracted Driving Simulator

This week, the students at Penn State Schuylkill got to experience first-hand the consequences of driving under the influence and distracted driving, compliments of a texting and DUI simulator.

According to an article on the RepublicanHerald.com, UNITE International’s Arrive Alive tour brought to campus the simultor which consists of a Mazda 5 on a platform, connected to sensors and a computer that creates the illusion of driving drunk.

“When you’re drunk, the signals from your brain to your hands are slower, so when you’re in the program, the signals from the computer program to the steering wheel are slower. It’s going to be simulating losing control when you’re drunk,” said Mitchel Verhage, independent contractor for UNITE.

Before they start the simulation, the person had to put on special headgear that has a screen for viewing the scenario that has been chosen. One student said, “Every time I tried to turn, it went the opposite way. It just kept swerving everywhere, then I hit a car.” When the driver presses the accelerator or brake, those movements are registered through a computer program.

UNITE visits schools from elementary level to colleges. Their programs are designed to heighten awareness to the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. It’s usually the texting simulation that affects those in the simulation the most.

We’re encouraged by UNITE and their efforts to combat the growing problem of distracted driving and driving under the influence. We hope that more schools in our area provide students with the opportunity to experience this driving simulator so that they can see the consequences of driving while impaired.