LIMA — The car ride is an eye-opener. It’s also tough to maintain control and eventually the driver crashes.
There’s no way around it.
The experience is not in a real car, more of a slow-moving go-kart. And no one is injured.
But the point is made. Impaired driving puts the driver and anyone in his or her path at risk.
Local police officials and others gathered Monday at the Allen County Fairgrounds to watch people drive the car and crash. The car was controlled by Perry Township Police Chief Rick Phillips.
There are two modes in the car dubbed SIDNE or Simulated Impaired Driving Experience, normal and impaired. Even in normal mode, the steering was sensitive making it easy to overturn. Once the car was placed in impaired mode, the car seemed to have a mind of its own.
When the driver attempted to correct an overturn, it was too late. If the driver had a chance to correct a turn, the response was overexaggerated.
“Instead of you being drunk, the car is drunk,” Phillips said.
Officers said it’s the same reactions people have when they drink and drive. They also brought with them a message, do not drink and drive.
“If you’re going to participate in drinking alcohol, certainly find a designated driver or a different way home,” Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish said.
Crish said the last thing he or any officer wants is to come across a drunken-driving crash and then have to tell the family of a victim their relative was killed.
Watching with a serious look on her face was Pam Styer. Her daughter was seriously injured 19 years ago when a drunken driver struck the car she was in.
“My daughter has facial injuries from the crash she sees every day,” Styer said. “No one was killed but there were two bad injuries.”
Styer said people need to think before they enter a car to drive after drinking. She said it’s not worth the risk.
“It can ruin your whole life. You can go to prison,” she said. “Make plans ahead of time. If you know you’re going to some place to consume alcohol, make plans. Call a friend, call a taxi.”