Students learn about distracted driving


Photo by: Kyle Graham

An FMU student participates in the distracted driving simulation during the Oct. 23 event.

The Division of Student Affairs and Campus Police hosted a Distracted Driving Tour in the breezeway under the Hyman Fine Arts Center to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.

The Oct. 23 event involved an interactive program called Arrive Alive Tour, which is brought to campuses all over the nation to raise awareness of drunk driving and to educate students on the dangers of texting while driving.

The Distracted Driving Tour allowed students to get behind the wheel of a car while wearing simulation goggles and navigating a road and obstacles on a monitor in front of them. The students chose between two simulations: distracted driving or impaired driving.

Aaron Austin, a representative and host of the Arrive Alive Tour, talked with students about the real dangers of getting behind the wheel while impaired.

“We set up in high schools and college campuses all over the country with the goal to educate students of all ages about the dangers of any kind of impaired driving,” Austin said. “Whether that be texting or under the influence of alcohol, both can have huge consequences.”

Austin said the students are responsive to the program because of how interactive the presentation is.

“It’s much better than just coming to a college campus with a PowerPoint and teaching about the dangers of impaired driving,” Austin said. “Students have heard that. This is hands-on and leaves the student with an experience. It makes the whole thing eye-opening.”

Along with the simulation car, Campus Police also provided “drunk goggles” with different alcohol levels and gave students the opportunity to walk a line while wearing the goggles and see how easily vision and balance is impaired by alcohol.

Student Betty Ingram said she came to the event to experience the effects of the goggles.

“I thought I was on the line the entire time,” Ingram said. “It made me realize that people are getting in cars thinking that they can drive after consuming that amount of alcohol, and they absolutely cannot.”

Assistant Dean of Students Latasha Brand organized the Distracted Driving Tour. Brand said the faculty felt the Distracted Driving Tour would benefit students because it would instill preventive safety measures.

“Simulating distracted driving, which is texting while driving or drunk driving, will hopefully give students a realistic view of what could potentially happen and prevent them from getting behind the wheel while being distracted or intoxicated” Brand said.

Brand also said the event would not have been possible without the help and participation from Campus Police.

Lieutenant Christopher Moore of Campus Police said he sees drivers texting while driving on campus often.

“It’s dangerous,” Moore said. “I drive on that road; you drive on that road. It’s a shared space. There’s nothing worse than a 2,000-pound vehicle being loosely guided because of distracted driving.”

Moore said he hopes students take away a sense of safety and responsibility from the Distracted Driving Tour.

“People need to learn to put their phones down and understand how easy it is to hit a pedestrian when you’re distracted,” Moore said. “It’s something that can happen so quickly.”

Moore also said he hopes the drunk goggles and simulation cars will help students gain a better understanding of how degraded the body’s senses are when alcohol is consumed.