Students learn about distracted driving from U.S. Army

HANCOCK — The United States Army is taking a step to improve road safety and made a stop in the Keweenaw peninsula on Monday to teach area teens about the dangers of distracted driving.

“This trailer educates our youth on the effects of drinking and driving and being impaired while driving,” said U.S. Army Captain Jarryl Jenkins.

As teenagers are learning to drive, the lesson of today was to put the cell phone down and focus on the road. Hancock High School students got a crash course in distracted driving and impaired driving as the U.S. Army brought its distracted driving simulator to the students.

“The trailer consists of two simulators that simulate drinking and also texting while driving, both of which are illegal to do. We also have a go kart with goggles that display the different effects of different things that can impair you as you are driving,” said Jenkins.

While one of pair of goggles simulates the effects of alcohol, another demonstrates the effects of marijuana, and other substances as well.

“Each student is going through the different cones and realizing how hard it is to actually do these simple tasks while being impaired,” said Jenkins.

“I did the ecstasy goggles and I don’t know it was really hard because you would see three (of everything) and then I would think I was going for a cone and then it would change color. It kept going from brown to super bright orange and then I would run over the cones. I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going too fast. I hit three cones,'” said Hancock High School senior Daryn Dupont.

Jenkins, and his team travel across the country with this trailer visiting one high school at a time.

“Hopefully what they take out of this is not to be impaired while driving, be it texting or drinking,” said Jenkins.

The crew will also make stops at Marquette Senior High School on Wednesday, Escanaba High School on Thursday and Kingsford High School on Friday.