Newport Students Learn About Dangers of Impaired, Distracted Driving 

These days, teenagers hear a lot about the dangers of drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel.Thursday, some students in Newport lived through them. Taking a fake ride down the road seems like it should be pretty easy.Unless the drive is a distracted one.”I tried to make a phone call and text on the game and I almost hit a deer. And I think I almost hit a lady,” says Senior Todd Wark.The simulated ride is part of a safety day event at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport.”A lot of people think they can text and drive and get away with it. But it’s really hard, so this gives them an opportunity to see how hard it is,” says Junior Priscilla Chambers.Outside, students are using a golf cart and so-called beer goggles to get an idea of what it’s like to drive drunk. “When I put the beer goggles on, you cannot see. And it’s like driving and you don’t know where you’re going and you have no control,” says Freshman Nick Buker.”Going without the goggles, it’s easy. going with the goggles it’s an experience. It’s something I wouldn’t do but a lot of people do, do it and it’s unfortunate that people die because of it,” says Junior Michael Bickford. Newport Police Officer Christopher McCrillis say the timing of this day is important, too.”We wanted to do something at the end of the year, students getting ready to graduate. And we wanted them to be able to be aware, with the summer months coming up, to be safe.”McCrillis says even though this is fun, students seem to understand the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.He hope’s it’s a lesson they carry with them, long after this day. Bickford says, “Impaired driving is not fun and it does harm people and it’s serious. It’s not something to play around with.”Buker adds, “You don’t drink and drive, you will kill people and hurt people and put yourself in danger and others people in danger.”This it the first time the school has put on a safety day. Organizers say judging by the response, they plan to do it again, next year.