East Setauket, NY – Young drivers were able to experience what could happen while driving distracted or impaired—from the safety of their school gymnasium—during the Brookhaven Highway Department’s Teen Driver Safety Program recently held at Ward Melville High School.
Caption: A Ward Melville High School student drives an electric car through an obstacle course while texting to demonstrate the dangers of distracted driving.
Funded through a grant from the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC), the program takes students through a variety of exercises designed to replicate the impairment created by drinking or texting. In one course, students drove electric cars through an obstacle course while wearing Fatal Vision goggles that alter their vision to simulate driving with a blood alcohol content ranging from .06 to .30 (the legal limit is .08). In another course, they drove the electric cars while sending and receiving text messages.
“Programs like this provide students with hands-on experience of what it’s like to be behind the wheel of a vehicle while distracted or impaired, without the dangers of being out on our public roadways,” said Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro. “It’s extremely important that students experience this program and make good decisions, before the cones in our obstacle courses, become other cars or pedestrians. “
“The Town of Brookhaven’s Teen Driver Safety program helps to support our health curriculum in recognizing the dangers of distracted driving, whether texting, using your phone or being under the influences of any chemical substance,” said Maureen Kost, coordinating secondary chairperson, departments of health and physical education, Ward Melville High School. “Our health classes were absorbed in two days of interactive and emotionally-engaging lessons to help our students become aware and to make positive decisions in the future.”
In addition to the Three Village School District, several Long Island districts are bringing the Teen Driver Safety Program to their schools; district administrators interested in scheduling dates should contact the Brookhaven Highway Department’s Traffic Safety division at 631-363-3770.