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Drunk driving simulation at La Crosse-area high school

The end of the high school year can include exam stresses and prom dresses. With summer just weeks away, many school students are thinking of friends and parties and a season of memories. What teenagers don't often think about are the dangers of drinking and driving.

Recently, just a few miles from La Crosse, Onalaska High School students were given a vivid picture of what could happen if someone who has been drinking gets behind the wheel. Onalaska police and fire crews conducted a drunk driving simulation with the help of local paramedics.

The simulation deliberately made realistic in order to get a strong message that drunk driving is not only unacceptable and illegal, but that it can kill or cause injuries in a terrible car accident. The law enforcement, fire and medical crews reenacted the scene of a drunken driver who refuses to give up his car keys to friends. Stuck with no other way home, the mock friends get in the vehicle with the drunk driver. The results are predictably tragic, but the impact on the students viewing the scene was clear.

During the simulation, the drunk driver ultimately becomes responsible for injuring two people and killing another -- all his friends. Students who viewed the simulation said that they learned a lesson that authorities hope they won't soon forget.

Simulation organizers used the life-like reenactment as a drunken driving deterrent, which they said would be useful even if only one student heeds the warnings about driving under the influence of alcohol or about getting in a car with someone else who does.

Source: WKBT: "Area students get sobering lesson on drinking and driving ahead of Prom": May 6, 2011

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