Vincent Polito, a senior in the Engineering program at Tri-County, attempted to maneuver a virtual road course on a program designed to simulate driving under the influence of alcohol. "It felt like I had no control over what I was doing and that there was input delay but with my brain," said Polito. "The good news is, I didn't kill anyone. Even better news is that it wasn't real."
UNITE's Arrive Alive Tour® program uses a high-tech simulator, impact video, and a number of other resources to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving and intoxicated driving. The simulator allows participants to experience the potential consequences of distracted and impaired driving in a controlled environment.
Nearly one-third of all traffic deaths involve alcohol-impaired drivers. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime. In 2014, the highest percentage of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes were in the age range of 21 to 24. Every day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times. However, only about 3,200 of those people are arrested.
One of the most commonly recognized driving distractions is cell phone use. About 89 percent of all Americans have a cell phone, according to CTIA – The Wireless Association. Drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Their lack of driving experience can contribute to critical misjudgments if they become distracted. Not surprisingly, they text more than any other age group, and the number of young drivers who text is only increasing.
"We are pleased to have UNITE's Arrive Alive Tour® program to come to Tri-County in order to educate our students on the impact of distractions like texting while driving as well as driving under the influence of alcohol, which can be detrimental to themselves and others," said Principal Michael Procaccini. "Engaging students in real-life scenarios teaches them to be alert and better-equipped to handle dangerous situations and behaviors which will be safer for our community."
UNITE brings health and wellness programs to high schools, colleges, and communities across the nation. Its programs are designed to heighten awareness to the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. These events have a powerful impact on students to reinforce the subjects that schools and parents teach them daily.
Tri-County RVTHS, located at 147 Pond Street in Franklin, is a recipient of the High Schools That Work Gold Achievement Award and serves the communities of Franklin, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleboro, Plainville, Seekonk, Sherborn, Walpole, and Wrentham.