A study performed by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 25 percent of teen drivers killed in an auto accident had a blood alcohol level over the legal limit. UNITE, a Utah based company, is using technology to give teens a “crash course” into the dangers of drinking and driving.
Student’s at Juan Diego High School were given the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat of a virtual simulator that mimicked similar effects of drunken driving. All driving was a simulation so there was no danger of course. KSL news reports that the simulator is a real car linked to a computer program with sensors that pick up on a driver’s actions. The program can simulate different blood alcohol levels and the delayed reaction time associated with that level.
Bill Taggart, a DUI awareness instructor for UNITE, said that the most fatal accidents involving alcohol happen at or near the legal limit, when drivers feel they are still ok to drive. When Juan Diego High School student Mac Baird was put in the simulator with a blood alcohol level of .081, a shade above the legal limit, this statement was verified. “I think I hit two people during my simulation,” Baird said. “I had one guy jaywalking, and I hit him. Then I lost control of the car and hit another person.”
“When you have alcohol in your system, you don’t realize how slow you are reacting to things. You think everything is happening in real time, but it’s actually more like a tape delay you are reacting to,” Taggart said.
The simulator made a big impression on students at Juan Diego High. Other government departments are using the technology to educate the public.
Utah DUI Statistics
The results of drunken driving are devastating. I’ve represented many victims of Utah drunk driving accidents and have seen those devastating results first hand. In 2008, 20% of the 275 total accidents in Utah were alcohol related. Of those, 46 of the accidents involved a driver with a blood alcohol level of at least .08.
In Utah, 1rst and 2nd DUI offenses are class B misdemeanors, and subsequent offenses are considered felonies.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury attorney who has represented many drunk driving victims in his years practicing law in Utah.