Driving While Informed

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Seniors at Shoreham-Wading River High School jumped aboard golf carts and tested their driving skills on a course laid out by orange cones, negotiating the track as both a sober driver and one who has consumed alcohol prior to taking the wheel. The driving exercise was a pilot program offered by the Suffolk County Police Department called Driving While Informed. Hosted by criminal justice students in Ruth Squillace’s class, the District’s seniors were the first to experience the pilot program.

“If we can educate students on the ramifications of getting behind the wheel after having consumed any amount of alcohol, then we have done our job,” Suffolk County Police Officer Mike Dunn stated.

Prior to driving, the students attended an assembly in which the officers covered topics including blood alcohol levels and impairment. The seniors were then paired with a police officer and taken through a driving course that combined the elements of real driving with stops and curves. On the second round, the students wore “beer glasses” to simulate inebriation as they attempted the driving course without hitting the cones. All witnessed that driving while impaired held drastic implications.

After the driving exercise, officers administered breathalizer tests and peer educators were also on hand to quiz students on facts learned during the assembly.

Senior Lindsay Fortunato remarked that this hands-on program was successful. “It will definitely make us all think before getting into a car after having consumed alcohol,” she stated.