Teens Get Good lesson in Alcohol Awareness

by: Mike Miller

One of the great new teaching methods that authorities are using with teens in their effort to fight driving under the influence are classroom simulations. These simulations give the sober student a chance to experience how impaired they are under the influence of alcohol.

This certainly is the case in Hawaii. Freshmen Kathryn Simons and Hannah Baeten, both 14, had difficulty high-fiving after trying to walk toward each other in a straight line at Kaukauna High School.

That's because the two girls were sporting Fatal Vision Impairment Simulation Goggles, a tool used to educate people about the consequences of alcohol misuse and abuse. The exercise, which took place in instructor Karla Miller-Flynn's health classes, simulates what it's like to be intoxicated through the use of special lenses that look like protective goggles.

Students also had the chance to experience what it is like to be distracted while driving, thanks to the Virtual Driver Interactive Simulator. The simulator let students practice what to do if a dangerous situation arises when they're behind the wheel.

Miller-Flynn said the simulator, which was on loan from AAA, is a great hands-on learning tool. When facing a dangerous situation in the real world, it's not as important what you know, but what you do.

And hearing an adult say texting while driving is difficult is one thing, she said, but experiencing it in a safe way reinforces the point.

Programs like these will go a long way to really giving our youngsters a more “hands on” approach. I feel these simulations are much more successful than the standard preaching. Simulation, combined with a good online minor in possession class could go a long way to preventing teen DUI behavior!