While this DUI may be simulated, the actual one will result in a trip to jail.

The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (WVABCA) is starting the new 2019-2020 school year with a brand-new DUI Simulator. The WVABCA presented the DUI Simulator Program to students attending Gilmer County High School on Mon., Oct. 28.

Carried from school to school in a large-ish trailer, the simulator looks like one of the sit-down arcade driving games that used to be popular in malls around the country. However, while those machines gobbled quarters and entertained you for a while, this “game” demonstrated just how you are affected by drinking and / or distracted driving.

The program that runs the simulator is keyed to the steering and breaking... the more the”digital driver” “drinks,” the more the computer unexpectedly messes with the steering wheel and brakes.

One GCHS student using the simulator spun off the “mountain road” she was driving on and, even though she “steered” back onto the path, the event was enough damage to the vehicle to end the simulation. “At least I didn't die!,” she happily announced when she exited the machine. “At least until your parents find out you took the car and went drinking and driving...” was the sobering response.

WVABCA Commissioner Fred Wooton said, “The DUI Simulator is in great demand and since 2010, the WVABCA has attended 604 events and 54,127 people, mostly students, have experienced this life saving program.” Wooton further stated,

By engaging our youth in this interactive manner, we are better able to provide valuable tools to combat underage drinking and distractive driving.” The new Simulator is much larger with enhanced graphics and a drivers' seat that moves in reaction to the driving course.

The program provides youth with the opportunity to experience various driving conditions, hazards and scenarios while safely using a simulation system. The program mimics the difficulties drivers will encounter at various blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. The program also includes a classroom lecture and collects relevant statistical information to aid in prevention programming.

The purchase of the new Simulator / Trailer and funding for the program is provided by grant funding from State Farm¨, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the Governor's Highway Safety Program.

The WVABCA would also like to remind the public of their other premier educational program. The 7th annual NO School Spirits PSA contest for the 2019-2020 school year is currently underway. The contest invites high school and middle school students to submit a video that addresses underage drinking and/or drinking and driving. The grand prize-winning school will receive $5,000.00, second-place $2,500.00 and third-place $1,000.00.

For more information about the DUI Simulator and the NO School Spirits PSA contest, you may visit the WVABCA website at https://abca.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx

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