SADD ed­u­cates stu­dents on dan­gers of DUI, dis­tracted driv­ing

DUI and Dis­tracted Driver sim­u­la­tor shows young drivers how com­mon dis­trac­tions can lead to dis­as­trous re­sults

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - FRONT PAGE - By Brady Tucker

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.

“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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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 SADD Ad­viser Josh Cham­bers watches stu­dents try out the DUI and Dis­tracted Driver sim­u­la­tor.

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