Kutztown SADD educates students on dangers of DUI, distracted driving

Kutztown High School students learn about the dangers of driving DUI and distracted using a simulator at an educational event hosted by the high school’s SADD program.
Kutztown High School students learn about the dangers of driving DUI and distracted using a simulator at an educational event hosted by the high school’s SADD program. Submitted photo
Kutztown High School student Alex Graff, 17, checks his results after completing the DUI and Distracted Driving simulation.
Kutztown High School student Alex Graff, 17, checks his results after completing the DUI and Distracted Driving simulation. Submitted photo

The Kutztown Area High School SADD’s DUI and Distracted Driver program on March 2 simulated drunk and distracted driving, showing students how common distractions like texting, a loud passenger, or chemical/alcohol impairment can lead to disastrous results.

Advised by high school English teachers Josh Chambers and Tom Miller, the Students Against Destructive Decisions club aims to “promote positive behavior and mental health.”

According to the SADD website, SADD was “founded as Students Against Driving Drunk in 1981 in Wayland, Massachusetts. SADD has grown to become the nation’s leading peer-to-peer youth education and prevention organization with thousands of chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.”

The acronym now stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions, as the program has broadened its focus. Chambers, who is also the adviser of the No Place for Hate club at Kutztown, spoke about how these programs are able to work together to spread awareness.

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“In the last year, seeing how SADD members are nearly identical to those involved in our anti-bullying intervention program, No Place For Hate, we’ve folded the clubs together and have been able to pinpoint some student needs,” said Chambers.

Miller, SADD co-adviser, stressed the importance of the simulations for student drivers and soon to be drivers.

“For me, I always worry about my students driving. I know how easy it is to become distracted while driving, and whenever we as teachers get the chance to remind students about the dangers of distracted driving, we must take advantage of such an opportunity,” said Miller. “The simulators allow teenagers to see just how dangerous distracted driving can be, and I hope the simulators really do make a difference in everyone’s driving behavior.”

The SADD event was sadly cut short due to the high school dismissing early because of inclement weather, but Kutztown senior Codey Geist, 18, was luckily able to experience the simulation.

“The simulator made you aware of others, not just yourself. It was difficult enough to manage watching out for others alone, but when the simulator added the effects of being distracted by a phone ringing on the screen or someone talking to you, it became even harder when your reaction time was skewed to simulate being intoxicated.”

Geist praised the event and wished all students were able to experience it.

“This was a good experience for the students at Kutztown. It reminded students who already drive how one second on the road could change or take someone’s life. It was probably the most affective for pre-driving age students because they were shown the consequences of drunk driving first hand before they could even get behind the wheel and make the mistake on the road.”

Kutztown’s SADD program was pleased with the event and hopes to provide students with more events and opportunities like this one in the future.