Students Get Sobering Lesson On Drunk Driving

Harrison Central Students got to look at the road through the eyes of a drunk driver. They wore special goggles that give the sensation of being drunk as they drove through an obstacle course set up by police. Students say the experience gave them a better understanding of just how dangerous it is to drink and drive.

Gulfport police hope this is the only time students at Harrison Central ninth grade will know what it feels like to drive drunk. Most of the students aren't old enough to get their licenses. So officers hope to teach them the consequences of drinking and driving before they get on the road.

Officer Eddie Ray says it doesn't matter how hard they concentrate on the road, accidents can still happen. Officers say they designed the obstacle course with certain driving maneuvers in mind. Students soon found out that backing into a driveway or hitting an S-curve while under the influence of alcohol was more than they could handle.

Larry Miller says he thought it was going to be pretty easy, but it was harder than he thought. That's because he couldn't really see where he was going. Lindsey Dean says it made the cones look like they were somewhere else. Matt Hoggatt says driving with the goggles makes you dizzy and can't see where you're going.

Some students say the experience was a reality check, because in the real world, the cones could represent people. Brennan Ladner says the goggles makes driving a lot harder. He won't be driving drunk. Miller Larry says he would be scared to be on the road while drunk, because he might get killed himself.

Before going out to the obstacle course, officers talked to the students about some of the penalties they could face if convicted of DUI, like having their licenses suspended until they're 21 years old.

Remember, next Wednesday and Thursday on the News at 10, in a WLOX special report, Steve Phillips takes to the streets with police as they enforce drunk driving laws.