The Kutztown Area High School SADD and No Place for Hate students offered Distracted Driving Demonstration and the use of DUI Simulations for high schoolers.

On Feb. 6, representatives from the Lehigh Valley Health Network were in the high school gymnasium all day long to once again reinforce the dangers of distracted driving. Four driving simulators were available for students to try out in order for students to see how a simple mistake could cause a disaster.

“As with last year's distracted driving demo, the event was a success in that it engaged the participants in scenarios that illustrated the dangers of driving (or simply being a passenger) while impaired or distracted. Those who were able to attend before lunches began also had the opportunity to try out three different impairments via goggles and attempt a DUI checkpoint test administered by a recently retired officer from the State,” said No Place for Hate adviser and SADD adviser Josh Chambers.

Chambers said that nearly all of the members of the senior class were able to take part in the demonstrations as well as a few underclassmen, estimating about 40 percent of the student population (and most of the school’s licensed drivers) had the chance to take part in the day's events.

“I am hopeful that by trying out the simulators and realizing how even a simple mistake can lead to an accident, our student drivers will be more appreciative of being watchful and vigilant on the roads,” said Chambers. “As I heard many students yell when they had a virtual car crash, ‘that was the other car's fault!’ so I am glad they understand that being a defensive driver is the best course of action.”

Kylie Bishop, 9th grade S.A.D.D member, hopes to send a message to students to do good for themselves and others and to learn “that as soon as you enter a vehicle, you are putting your life at a risk. Therefore, it is incredibly important to be as safe as possible.”

Bishop said this event is important “because it simulates how easy it is to get in an accident and the extreme consequences.”

“I hope to send the message to students that the consequences are to driving distracted are much worse than normally thought,” said Marnie Derr, Grade 9 SADD member. “It's not something to just joke around with and say you'll think about it later. I hope they learn it doesn't matter who you are in society, you will get caught one way or another.”

Derr added, “People aren't as invincible as they tend to think they are. The event is important because it gives students an idea of what the consequences of distracted driving are and what it could potentially cost you in the sort and long term.”

“As we move toward warmer weather and the celebrations that come with the end of a school year, the Kutztown SADD crew will continue to promote smart choices and mindfulness through a few more school-wide awareness pieces,” said Chambers.

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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