Thursday, April 12, 2018

Safety Bug Aims to Help Young Drivers Make Good Choices

The VW Beetle is one of only two cars of its kind in the state.

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, Owen J. Roberts teens were given a real-life impaired driving experience. Throughout the day, running continuously from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., the PA DUI Safety Bug, a Volkswagen Beetle custom-engineered to demonstrate the loss of control one would experience if operating a motor vehicle while in an impaired state, was operated by licensed student drivers. The key difference is that it’s the car – not the driver – who is “drunk.” The car is engineered to have up to a 2-second delay in reaction giving students the ability to experience what it is like to attempt control of a motor vehicle with as little as one alcoholic beverage.

While licensed teenage drivers are able to experience The Safety Bug from a vantage point behind the wheel, an equally valuable lesson is afforded backseat passengers. The youth who are “along for the ride” soon realize the helpless position they would be put in as passengers in the car of an impaired driver. Special goggles are available for passengers so they may also understand the lack of control.

Classroom driver training, behind the wheel driver training, and lessons learned from a teen’s experience with The Safety Bug are likely to have a positive impact upon the participant’s future decisions – and help prevent risky behaviors, hopefully saving lives. 

In early 2013, Owen J. Roberts was approved as a road testing site for students to complete PA licensing requirements. Classroom driver training is part of the curriculum at Owen J. Roberts High School and the school also offers Behind the Wheel driver training at a minimal cost to students.

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