EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

May 10, 2014

Pelham students get a taste of being drunk behind the wheel

Pelham students get a taste of what drunken driving is like

PELHAM — Pelham High School students were given a crash course in drunken driving yesterday, just hours ahead of prom night.

Students first donned “drunk” goggles, designed to alter vision and interfere with motor control and coordination. Then, they got behind the wheel of a golf cart and tried to maneuver around traffic cones.

“Oh, my god, that’s bad,” said Doug Carton, 17, seconds after putting the goggles on. “I’m dizzy just from wearing these.”

The exercise was part of a two-day event designed to show students what can happen when they get behind the wheel after drinking. The events were organized by the school’s peer outreach group.

“Tonight is prom night,” said Erin Gavin, health teacher and one of two peer outreach organizers. “This is an opportunity for them to see reality, to see what it’s like driving under the influence of alcohol.”

Thursday, the entire student body participated in a mock accident exercise in which seven students played the roles of people killed by drunken driving.

The driving exercise yesterday targeted students attending the prom last night. It was the fourth year the school has run the exercise before the prom, School Resource Officer Brian Kelly said.

Most students navigated the course without running over any cones, but they were less successful backing into a parking space.

Alex Dubois, 18, finally parked the cart sideways, giving up trying to find which way he should have been facing.

“It just shows how scary it can be and how nobody has to be in that position,” he said.

“You saw two of everything. It’s hard, made me really dizzy,” said Kenny Arsenault, 17. “I saw six cones instead of three. You can’t tell which one is the back one.”

Brian Gettings, 17, said the exercise showed exactly how drunken driving can have fatal consequences.

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