DUI go-cart simulator helps show teens dangers of drunk driving

DUI go-cart simulator helps show teens dangers of drunk driving »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- The feeling of being drunk behind the wheel was experienced by a number of high school students. It was done with the use of a go-cart simulator.

Mireya Galvez might look like a great driver, staying between the cones and not swerving.

"Well at first it was like regular driving," said Mireya.

But all of that changed when the officer in control switched the go-cart into "drunk" mode.

"It took forever whenever I would turn the tire. It would take its time to turn, so I was running into all of the cones," Mireya said.

And Mireya's brain is not even delayed by alcohol. But the go-cart is delayed: by just half a second, which simulates the brain delay when someone is driving drunk.

"It causes drastic problems for their driving, to where they can lose complete control of the vehicle," said Paul Ouimette of the Moses Lake Police Department.

I wanted to know how many times kids under 21 are being busted for DUI. Despite not being old enough to drink legally, these arrests are still happening. Yet the incidents are falling. State Patrol for our region said they made 21 arrests for underage DUIs in 2011, followed by 15 the next year and 11 last year. There has been just one arrest so far this calendar year.

Over 100 teenagers signed up to participate in the simulated driving at New Horizons High School.

"It's interesting to see the reactions when you speak to the kids and they say, 'Oh, wow, this is a big difference, this does make a big difference,'" said Ouimette.

The Moses Lake Police Department put on the event. The cost was paid for by a federal grant.

Students said it was a good wake-up call to how it would really feel to be intoxicated behind the wheel.

"I don't want to put anybody's life in danger, I put mine and my partner's," said Mireya.

New Horizons High School decided to bring in the program after overhearing students talking about alcohol.