Experiencing the effects

Health classes learn about consequences and attempt impaired driving.

April 24, 2018

In efforts to educate New Ulm High School sophomores about distracted driving New Ulm Police Officer Jay Backer and National Guard member Cameron Jeske came to have the students experience the affects themselves, instead of preaching it to them.

“By simulating distracted driving, students will get a deeper understanding of the dangers they put themselves, and others in,” said Backer.

Jeske tested the students texting and driving abilities in the pedal carts. They attempted to send a 6 word text, without using “U” and “R,” within the length of the basketball court. Some students started of slow, but Jeske moved them along assuring them it wasn’t a “Sunday stroll.” The heads of the students bobbed up and down between the “road” and their phones throughout the course. Although auto-correct may have protected their texting skills, the cones, on the side, were beaten up.

In Backer’s obstacle course of cones, the students pedaled their carts one time through with their sober vision. The second time through the students put goggles on with different types of impaired vision. Some were different levels of blood alcohol, others were opiates, THC, marijuanna, and snooze goggles. Again, some tried the slow approach, still swerving around and hitting a number of cones.

The catch exercise was to experience delayed reaction in general. The effects of the goggles are not just while driving, but also doing other activities.

The distracted driving and drunk driving course was made possible through the Minnesota National Guard. The pedal cars were provided by the National Guard. Jeske said, “the program has been around for the five years I’ve been here, and probably before,” he add, “It is a fun way for the students to experience how easy it is to become distracted.”

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