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Teen driver simulation serves as a valuable teaching tool

“I can do this,” says the person, before he staggers sideways … “Oh, my God, I can’t do this. I can’t even see the line.”

That could be the audio from any field sobriety test, right?

Fortunately, it was 16-year-old Marietta High School student Josh Martin, during an impaired driving challenge this week featuring goggles that simulate impairment at levels ranging from beer to drugs.

Martin had the right idea when he exclaimed afterward, “It’s really crazy to think about trying to drive like this.”

When Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Lea Mikes let students try out the goggles, the results likely included plenty of laughter. It’s a harmless experiment, after all. But driving impaired is no laughing matter. It can be deadly.

A no-risk situation in which students still learn about the effects of driving impaired is an important tool in preventing accidents — and fatalities — as a result of impaired driving.

As Mikes pointed out, it teaches the students more than simply the effects of drugs or alcohol on their own abilities, it helps them understand what other drivers might be facing if they made bad choices before getting behind the wheel.

“You’ve got to be alert to that,” she said.

According to Mikes, one out of three drivers are impaired at any given time. Perhaps with the help of demonstrations such as the goggles experiment this week, these students will make better choices.

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