Vehicle accidents are the number one killer of teenagers in the United States. Indeed, the statistics shows that more than 2,100 teenagers were killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2013. In other words, six people between 16 and 19 were in a fatal crash each day. While 15- to 24-year-olds constitute just under 14 percent of the total population, they make up 30 percent of the costs of motor vehicle injuries among young men and 28 percent among females, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Recently, the Teen Safe Driving Summit, an organization dedicated to reinforcing safe driving practices among teenagers, invited student leaders to Virginia for an innovative program designed to replicate the effect of binge drinking while in vehicles. Using 3-D goggles, they drove around an obstacle-filled track on go-carts. The goggles were designed to provide the same spinning feeling that being extremely drunk can produce. (One student said that the goggles made the obstacles on the course—traffic cones—look like a kaleidoscope, and that it seemed that there were far more than actually were on the course.)
In another event, students climbed into a large 18-wheel semi-truck with cars parked behind on either side, so they could get a sense of how limited the view of cars was. (Nationally, 70% of accidents between big rigs and cars are caused by the cars.)
The group hopes that teaching students through experience rather than through lecture and facts alone will help them realize how important it is to not drink and drive—and that they will spread the word when home among their peers.
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