Columbus students "shocked" by DUI simulation exercise days befo - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus students "shocked" by DUI simulation exercise days before prom

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

In 2013, over 300 lives were lost due to drunk driving in Georgia, with Alabama trailing close behind, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 

The Centers for Disease Control reports over 50 percent of teens will drink on prom night.

With prom season in full swing here in the Chattahoochee Valley, area students are taking part in a simulated DUI crash to teach an important lesson on drinking and driving.

Emergency personnel from all over Columbus assisted in giving students at Shaw High School a reality check when it comes to drinking and driving. 

Watching a classmate get zipped into a body bag, and carried away while another peer is held responsible for his death is both shocking and sobering for students. 

Whitley Gillespie, and 11th grader at Shaw High School, says she is excited about prom, but she now realizes how quickly having a drink can change her life forever. 

"I wish everyone in high school could see it. It makes you realize what's realistic out there," Gillespie said.

Statistics show that 23 percent of high school students have consumed alcohol before the age of 13.
 
Gillespie says it's not uncommon to see her peers engaging in risky behavior. 

"It's pretty common, everyone talks about drinking, and doing bad things," Gillespie adds. 

Students also participated in other exercises, including a drunk driving simulation using impairment goggles. 

One of the student organizers, Devrin Turner,  says he feels the simulation had a huge impact on his classmates. 

"I think it accomplished a goal as long as it affected one person, because that one person might be the person that decides to make a bad decision,"  Turner said.

A 2005 study of U.S. teens reports three-fourths of 12th graders, more than two-thirds of 10th graders, and about two in every five 8th graders have tried alcohol.
     
"If you have been texting or drinking and driving don't do it again. We saw the pictures of the lives and families that were destroyed from doing it," 11th grader Ariel Demunn reacts.

The good news is that alcohol use in teens has fallen substantially in the last two decades,  according to the Office of Adolescent Health. 

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