Edgar Moser, who teaches driver’s education at Salem High School, knows an excellent opportunity when he sees one. Such a situation presented itself on March 29 when the school hosted a teen driver safety event in partnership with the Youth Of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO) and Virginia State Police (VSP).
“I was contacted a year or so ago to bring my students to a safety event held at the Roanoke Civic Center. I felt the event was very beneficial, so I arranged for some of those same activities to be brought to Salem High School,” Moser said.
He added, “With car crashes being the number one killer of our teens today, we must help them be safer drivers. And with texting being a huge distraction to teens while they drive, I feel we must also educate them that texting while driving is illegal at any age in Virginia. Talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of a crash and can slow a young driver’s reaction time to that of a 70-year-old.”
From 10:00 a.m. through 2:45 p.m., students had the opportunity to drive a golf-cart simulator through a cones course while accompanied by State Trooper Michael Snodgrass. They also participated in ScanEd: Physics of a Crash which shows the dangers of unsafe driving and passenger behaviors and got to use DUI goggles.
“The cones course is specifically designed to expose students to the serious dangers of all three forms of distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive distraction,” said Casey Taylor, Program Development Coordinator for YOVASO. “Students are introduced to the consequences of driving impaired through the use of DUI goggles. The goggles let the students, in a safe and controlled environment, witness the impact that alcohol has on one’s driving ability and fine motor skills.”
By the end of the event, Moser was pleased to see that his students had fun while learning at the same time.
“While I felt this event was exciting for the students and gave them an opportunity to laugh at times, it was also a serious reminder of what can happen when a driver is distracted or drives under the influence,” he said. “I very much hope to continue this in the future.”