MGCCC students get sobering lesson before Spring Break

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - With Spring Break coming up next week, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is taking steps to help save lives on the road. The college is giving close to 1,000 students a dose of reality when it comes to driving while distracted.

On Tuesday, Gulf Coast brought the "National Save-A-Life Tour" to the Jackson County campus. It was a visual presentation with a message that for some, hit painfully close to home.

The students sat in the driver's seat and thought they had control of the car. Then suddenly, the car started to speed up and swerve.

"Please don't hit a taxi!" the instructor warned.

Every driver who got behind the wheel ended up with a DUI ticket.

"That was hard," one student commented.

The three-screen simulator gave drivers first-hand experience of what it's like to drive while intoxicated.

"It delays the steering, so when you turn the wheel, maybe for full second to a half second later, then the car's going to turn to what you just did. That's why you see so many drunk drivers running through red lights and stop signs and swerving all over the road," said Tour Manager Andrew Tipton.

Tipton has taken the tour to young drivers all over the world.  He has a passion for trying to save lives on the road.

"My dad had been to a drinking and driving accident while I was in high school. He was almost killed. I was hit by a guy texting and driving. I've always been big into safe driving," said Tipton.

Some of the students already understand the serious consequences of dangerous driving habits.

"I've had family members that were killed in drinking and driving accidents," said sophomore Jason Smith. "Drinking and driving is ignorant and sooner or later, it's going go cause an accident."

Graphic videos of real life accidents and a casket served as shocking reminders of the life-changing impact of drinking and driving.

"A lot of our students are younger drivers, but these are issues that affect any driver. I hope they'll be safer drivers. I hope they'll be defensive drivers and they would not be a threat to other people on the road," said Sonya Edwards, Student Activities Coordinator at the JC campus.

"We're just here to tell them to make the right decisions and be safe," said Tipton.

The tour will stop at the Perkinston campus on Wednesday, then the Jeff Davis campus on Thursday.

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