WWHS Students Experience High-Tech DUI Simulator

BECKLEY, W.Va (WOAY) – In June, the West Virginia Beverage Control Administration got a new DUI simulator, and it is even more high-tech than the one they got back in 2010. On Monday, students at Woodrow Wilson gave it a try.

It’s a step up from the beer goggles on a golf cart simulation. This new technology feels like a car and drives like a car until the “driver’s” blood alcohol content automatically starts going up 

“The higher the BAC goes the more delayed the braking, the steering,” program coordinator Dan Pickens said. “It’s harder to figure out actually where your hands are in space, so it takes away your hand-eye coordination just like alcohol does and it impairs fine motor skills through the steering as well.”

The simulation program has been to every high school in the state. The program is the result of a partnership between the West Virginia Beverage Control Administration as well as the national administration, the Governors Highway Safety Association and State Farm. 

“I can’t imagine what it would be like to hurt somebody and live with that for the rest of your life or the penalty of having to pay for the rest of your life for damages that you had done to someone else,” local State Farm agent Bill Straub said. “Once they see some of those things, they experience some of it and they see it with their peers then I think that it really helps them understand the responsibility that they do have when they do drive the automobile.”

And the students at Woodrow got the message:

“Your response level’s lower,” Morgan Robinette, an 11th grader, said. 

“Yeah, it’d be a lot harder to steer or brake,” Koalton Ray, an 11th grader, added. 

“Impossible to brake,” 12th grader Isaac Bragg said.

The simulator will head to Liberty High School on Tuesday and Shady Spring on Wednesday.

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.