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Maryland program looks to deter teen's risky driving behaviors

Spring is the time of year where more teens are likely to be involved in a car accident. With prom and graduation celebrations about ready to get underway, The Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute, the Department of Public Safety and the Sykesville Facility are teaming up to put together a program for teens with one message in mind - drive safely or risk death from a car accident.

The program is conducted at the Sykesville Driver Training Facility and the instructors have high school students participate in a tactical driving course wearing DUI goggles, participate in a field sobriety test, and listen to lectures and testimony from drivers who have been involved in accidents.

Instructors emphasize that no alcohol or texting is worth risking their lives or the lives of others. This is the first time that the three organizations partnered together to offer this program to high school students and they are hopeful that their message will register with the students.

The lecture segment of the program has victims who have been involved in car accidents talking about their accidents and their recovery. After the lecture, the students were taken to the tactical road course where they wore "Fatal Vision" goggles, which stimulate being drunk. With the goggles on, the students had to go through an obstacle course filled with cones and turns. The set speed limit for the course was 25 mph, but most students couldn't go past 10 or 15 mph.

Students who participated in the program were amazed at how much alcohol can impair driving and will hopefully get the message not to drink and drive this spring.

Source: Eldersburg Patch, "Driving 'Drunk' on Purpose To Learn Grim Lessons," Diana Soliwon, April 24, 2012

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