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Event promotes safe driving

Bridget Feeney | Monday, November 12, 2012

Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to experience distracted driving firsthand at the “Arrive Alive” present Tuesday at the Student Center atrium.


The event, co-sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Women’s Health, Saint Mary’s health services center, is intended to increase awareness about drunk driving and texting while driving.


“I think texting while driving is especially important for students to understand the consequences of because it is a more recent problem with the increase in technology over the last decade,” senior student body president Maureen Parsons said. “People are now tweeting, using Facebook and emailing while driving. It is important for students to understand what can happen and the risks of texting and driving.


“As college students, it is always important to remind students of the dangers of drinking and driving.”


According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 people were killed as a result of drivers sending text messages while behind the wheel in 2010. In the same year, more than 10,000 people were killed due to drivers getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, the equivalent of one crash every 51 minutes. These statistics lead Women’s Health and Parsons to bring “Arrive Alive” to campus.


The event will feature a car simulation to help participants to get an idea of what it is physically like to drive while drunk or texting.


“With the simulation, student will be able to truly experience what it feels like and what can happen drinking and driving or texting while driving,” Parsons said.


The presenting company, UNITE, is a top health and wellness organization in the country. UNITE visits schools and universities to educate students of all ages across the nation about the risks of distracted driving. Parsons said she is thankful to Women’s Health for bringing the concept to SGA’s attention.


“Women’s Health brought the idea to SGA, and we felt that it was a great idea,” she said. “We think the texting while driving simulation is especially worthwhile because it is something that is gaining more attention across the country.”


Parsons said that while there is no set speaker or planned discussion, students are able to stop by the “Arrive Alive” at any point during the afternoon to participate in the simulator, ask questions or get more information about UNITE. She expects students to gain a new level of respect for the importance of not taking part in risky driving behaviors and the simulator is an effective way to help spread this message.

“[SGA] hopes that students learn of the consequences that can come from drinking and driving as well as texting while driving,” she said. “I think anytime you allow students to physically participate in something, the message is better understood.”


“Arrive Alive” will take place Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Student Center atrium.