What it's like to drink and drive
This brings a whole new meaning to the term "beer goggles."
Instead of scanning potential mates through a haze of alcohol, folks wearing these goggles will be exposed to a heavy-duty dose of what it's like to drive drunk.
The Psychology Club and Psi Beta at Lone Star College-Montgomery are bringing the DUI Simulator to town March 10.
A Michigan based company called P.E.E.R.S Awareness, which stands for Professionals Encouraging Education Reform Statewide, has transformed a compact car into virtual reality.
"They actually bring in this car," said Karen Buckman, Lone Star College-Montgomery professor of psychology. "The person driving it programs in their height, weight and sex. They pretend to start driving this car, and the audience outside can see on the television screens what the driver is seeing. The virtual reality goggles make it look like they are driving sober, then after two drinks, after four drinksand they can see how it affects their driving."
According to the Web site at www.peerawareness.com, the goal is to imitate both vehicle and road.
The car is positioned on a computer-controlled road simulator ramp. Scenery is generated via goggles by virtual reality software, while at the same time receiving data from the vehicle's wheels and pedals while under the influence of the driver.
Buckman said 30 people can drive the simulator every hour, meaning some 180 participants can get behind the wheel and try it out.
"They can read about how bad drinking and driving is," Buckman said, "but if they experience it in the simulator, it might be a wake-up call."
Buckman said the college's Psychology Club is more than 100 students strong. At the beginning of the school year, members come up with ideas for presentations and seminars all of which are open to the public.
Buckman said they recently had a sleep specialist talk to the group about how to get a good sleep and how that equates to better grades.
Last October, they had a specialist talk about serial killers and their personality traits.
"We're a psychology club," Buckman said. "We're interested in all kinds of behavior."
Buckman said the drinking and driving simulator was recommended by a student who had seen it in her high school in Detroit.
Brett Conerly-Hartmann, a 23-year-old psychology student, said he was intrigued by the idea and can't wait to try it.
"I think the technology is going to bring out a lot of students," Conerly-Hartmann said. "You've got virtual reality in your eye, you're sitting in car, your friends can watch you.
"It will bring in a lot of students who might think they don't care much about drinking and driving, but then they'll say 'wow, this is what it's really like.'"
In addition to the simulator, there will be a video looping in the college commons depicting real-life results of high impact crashes.
There will also be a Dedication Station where students can pledge to never drink and drive.
Want to go?
What: DUI simulation
When: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. Wednesday March 10
Where: Lone Star College-Montgomery, outside Building A
Sponsored by: Lone Star College-Montgomery Psychology Club and Psi Beta
For more information: Karen Buckman, 936-273-7371
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