Teens learn the dangers of driving under the influence

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

ASHLAND, VA (NBC12) - It was an eye opening experience for some teenagers in Ashland.

They volunteered for the Safe and Sober Teen Driving Event held by Ashland Police.

Police say they purposely planned this for the day before the Super Bowl to get an important message across.

"It was very very hard," said 17-year-old Brandon Hall.

Hall doesn't have his drivers license just yet but is getting first hand experience of the dangers of drinking and driving.

"I learned not to drive drunk if you drive drunk you're going to hit a tree," he said.

In this case it was an orange cone but the Ashland Police Department is trying to get teens, like Hall, to understand the consequences of making that decision.

That cone Sgt. Scott Menzies says could have been a person.

"It's inevitable they're going to be introduced and they'll see others drinking and they'll see adults drinking and we want them to know at a very young age that some of their actions can affect them the rest of their lives and they can even kill people," said Sgt. Menzies.

The first test: driving a golf cart through an obstacle course with fatal vision goggles.

Which mimic the feeling of driving intoxicated.

The second: walking a straight line.

"It was over here when I'm trying to step right here," said Hall.

Sgt. Menzies says it's an important lesson on this superbowl party weekend, but one that should be remembered all year long.

"We want to caution them about mixing the alcohol with driving and as they're becoming the age to consume alcohol we want to caution them year round," said Sgt. Menzies.

Hall says he got the message loud and clear.

"I don't see me drinking anytime soon not after this experience," he said.

In 2007, police say early half of all the fatal crashes on Super Bowl Sunday involved drivers with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher.

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