Students learn consequences of driving while impaired

On June 9, prior to graduation, the Eisenhower SADD Club held an event to help promote safe decisions for beginning drivers. Activities involved were organized and brought in from PennDOT, AAA, The Warren Police Explorers and Erie County Department of Health.

The first activity, presented by Geoff Crankshaw, project coordinator for the Northwest Regional Highway Safety Network, was two driving simulators run by him and by Marianne Warner, safety press officer of the Oil City District of PennDOT. A safety press officer promotes safety by raising awareness of safety issues through local media and by working with law enforcement and other safety partners in an attempt to positively influence behaviors on Pennsylvania roads. The PennDOT Safety Press Office seeks to improve work-zone safety, improve pedestrian safety, prevent drowsy driving and distracted driving, increase seatbelt use, improve school-bus safety, prevent driving under the influence (DUI), and improve new-driver safety, night-time driving safety, and older-driver safety.

The second activity was presented by the Warren Police Explorers which involved students wearing “fatal vision goggles” that simulate an experience of impaired driving under a blood alcohol content of .07 up to .25 percent while driving Mario-Kart on the WII gaming system. The Police Explorers is a group of students who are interested in criminal justice and police enforcement. More information is available through the Warren County Sheriff Department.

The third activity was designed by Eric Shotts, technology education teacher and SADD Club advisor at Eisenhower Middle High School. In cooperation with Terri Rae Anthony of AAA, who supplied remote control vehicles, and Geoff Crankshaw, who supplied more fatal vision goggles, the students were directed to complete simple daily tasks, such as giving a partner a high five, throwing catch, standing on one leg, and picking up a set of keys while wearing different goggles at various levels of impairment. Many students found it difficult to do simple tasks and the last task was for them to navigate the remote control cars through an obstacle course while wearing the goggles.

Shotts noted that the students found these activites to be much more difficult while being impaired, which was the goal. The SADD Club’s role in the school and community is to raise awareness about destructive decisions that can affect an individual’s life and the lives of others.

“Please, take time to think about the consequences and make the best decision possible to create a safer school and community,” Shotts urged.

This event could not have been possible without the assistance of Kelly Martin, principal of Eisenhower; Alice Nichols, interim assistant principal; Crankshaw; Warner; Anthony; Sgt. Brandon Deppen, advisor of the Police Explorers; and the Police Explorers Group.