DURHAM: Program teaches young drivers impaired driving dangers - WNCN: News, Weather

Durham program teaches young drivers the dangers of impaired driving

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DURHAM, N.C. -

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office gave kids a chance Monday to experience the dangers of driving while impaired, without taking a drink.

The program, called IDEA, Impaired Driving Education and Awareness, was started up by the Durham County Sheriff’s Office about 10 years ago. This year they teamed up with the Durham Police Department to help spread the word even further. MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also helped make it all possible.

On Monday, kids met in the parking lot of the Durham School of Arts to learn a life lesson you can’t just learn in a classroom: Don’t drink and drive.

“About one-third of fatal accidents involving motor vehicles were the result of a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, and many of those crashes involve someone under the age of 21,” said Deputy Paul Sherwin, Durham County Sheriff’s Office. “We aim to change those numbers.”

Deputies strapped “drunk” goggles on the kids and had them go through various sobriety tests, like walking a straight line or lifting one foot off the ground. The goggles simulated being intoxicated with a .17 to .20 BAC level. The legal limit is .08.

“It felt weird,” explained high school student Oscar Wilburn. “My vision was bending and I couldn’t walk in a straight line.”

The kids also got a chance to try and drive a golf cart through some cones while wearing the goggles.

“It’s good knowing how it actually affects you before you do it, that way you don’t do it,” said Wilburn. “It’s just terrible it causes so many deaths each year.”

“We get the kids out there to drive the golf cart, the kids will laugh, and we’re hoping that when they get to the point when they have to make a decision they’ll think back about what we did here and hopefully make a better choice,” explained Deputy D. Baker.

If you’re interested in receiving a demonstration or wish to learn more about the IDEA program, contact Deputy P.A. Aiken at 919-560-0617.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Rodriguez

Jonathan Rodriguez is an investigative reporter and member of the WNCN Investigates team. His storytelling specialty is connecting the dots to get to the truth, with a goal of delivering results for our community. If you have something you’d like WNCN to investigate, contact Jonathan.

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