Ocean Springs Students Experience "Impaired Driving"

High school students maneuver golf carts through the parking lot at Ocean Springs High School.

Toppling cones represent street signs or pedestrians. The students are playing the role of drunk drivers.

"Alcohol awareness with the kids. They're wearing simulation goggles. They go anywhere from point-oh-four to point one seven, or twice the legal limit to drive," said officer Mike Sweeney with the Ocean Springs Police Department.

"There's a stop sign right up here," instructed the officer sitting alongside an "impaired" student.

Sara Wilburn finds impairment a real problem. Once goggles blur the vision, cones become targets.

"I don't know. I really couldn't see anything. I was running over cones," said Wilburn, "Yeah, that's not good. No one should drive drunk."

"Just step on it. Let's go! We're having fun tonight," said the officer sitting next to another "drunk" teenager.

Role playing police officers offer peer pressure. Impaired driving speaks for itself.

"They're experiencing how difficult it is to manage. Your motor skills are shot at that point," said Sweeney.

"To your left. To your right," yelled the officer-instructor, "Whoa, you just killed one!"

Gordon Waters found the simulation a little unnerving, but says it's a great awareness and safety training tool.

"It is. It really is good for the kids at the high school to see what it's like and how it feels when you're driving drunk. It's always good to have a designated driver," said Waters.

Students may be thankful they're not graded for the driving exercise.

"Obviously they're having problems doing it. They're killing a lot of cones," said officer Sweeney.

Senior Destiny Nightingale says the DUI simulation is perfect timing just days before the prom.

"I didn't think it was going to be as blurry as it was. Hopefully, it will keep this fresh on people's minds for the weekend," she said.