The Safety Bug and Safety Simulator - September 20, 2017
The Safety Bug and Safety Simulator was made available to seniors on September 20, 2016 to offer the students an exciting opportunity to learn about driving under the influence during their health and physical education classes. Drunken driving accidents are the leading cause of death among 15-20 year olds. The Safety Bug is a car that has a specialized computer which simulates what it is like to be driving with various blood alcohol levels and the effects of being drunk. A trained facilitator in the front seat of the car controls the computer settings that cause the vehicle’s steering and brake systems to become unpredictable. The teen driving experiences first hand what it feels like to drive under the influence. Passengers in the backseat, learn a lesson as well. They experience the feeling of helplessness as a person along for the ride of a drunken driver.
The driver and two passengers along with the facilitator begin driving the vehicle in the “sober mode” and then the in car computer is altered to various drunken levels. Without warning the driver must try to control the car which is impossible to successfully complete.
Seniors will had the opportunity to operate a simulated automobile that is completely computerized. The technical facilitator controls the weather, road type and a variety of obstacles that appear before the driver. The stationery simulator provides an opportunity for the students to see how hard it is to predict what can appear while operating a car and how little control one has once they are under the influence.
The district Substance Awareness Coordinator, Liz Knodel-Gordon arranged for these programs with Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo and Scotch Plains Chief of Police Ted Conely, Scotch Plains-Fanwood Municipal Alliance and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood PTA Chemical Dependency Committee. The goals of these programs is for individuals to understand that they are invincible and that it only take one poor decision to alter one’s life. “It is our goal to cut down risky behavior and have our children make informed choices when choosing to drive or to get into a car with someone who has be drinking.” said Liz Knodel-Gordon.
The Safety Bug and Simulator program was developed in 1999 by the Pennsylvania (PA) DUI Association and PA SADD.