The dangers of driving distracted or drunk were driven home for students at Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy recently.
Deputies from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office held a series of hands-on demonstrations and discussions at PMSA on April 29 and 30 that helped students learn more about how dangerous distracted driving can be. With the use of simulators and other tools, the students became more aware of those dangers.
"It’s the most realistic yet safest way to show them how dangerous driving distracted or drunk can be," said Deputy Sheriff Noreen Ruane-Hraha.
Among the activities that students participated in were trying to walk a straight line, catching a ball, or driving a golf cart in the school’s parking lot while wearing "Fatal Vision" goggles, which simulate the effects of being drunk. Students also could try to drive on a simulator while being distracted by talking or texting on their cell phone. They also learned from a lecture that included video of an Illinois State Trooper being struck by a car whose driver was distracted.
Janet Sanchez, a PMSA senior, crashed on the simulator as she was texting.
"I thought it was interesting," she said. "This gave us a good idea about drunk driving."
Oscar Garcia, also a PMSA senior, said he learned the lesson quickly. He said that he had difficulty with texting while driving on the simulator and trying to catch a bouncing ball while wearing the "Fatal Vision" goggles.
"It was a great experience," he said. "It taught you how these distractions can affect how you drive."
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that lessons from the demonstration will go a long way in helping to keep students safe.
"With many of our students graduating this year and looking ahead to life after high school, it is important that they understand the consequences that come from certain behaviors," she said. "Our goal is to take proactive measures to empower our students to make wise decisions. We want our students to enjoy the end of the year festivities and to know that they can have fun without alcohol or by giving in to peer pressure."